Each day I watch for moments that inspire a strong feeling of gratitude and joy within me. I mentally label the strongest such moment The Delight of the Day. The practice encourages what psychologists call “positive scanning.” I’m waiting for good things to happen and, when they do, I notice and celebrate them. The more I understand what brings me joy, the more I can drop into it.
The leaves are turning in my Minneapolis neighborhood. Green leaves are shifting to golds and reds and browns. I have been appreciating the beauty and mourning the summer with the shrug-of-the-shoulder-and-sigh regret of a long time Minnesotan. Yesterday I realized that, unlike earlier autumns, I hadn’t brought any leaves indoors. Now, I have a small pile of leaves on my desk.
I felt a little materialistic guilt about that. Why is it, I wondered, that we humans feel like we have to own beauty? Why did I want these leaves on my desk instead of outdoors beneath the tree where they belong? What empty hole was my grasping greed trying to fill?
Then I saw a neighbor dog heading home with a large branch in his mouth. Since our apartment building allows dogs, I have more canine than human neighbors. I always delight to see the big dogs wagging their way home, tails up, heads high, teeth clenched around their arboreal trophies. I’m not talking little sticks here, either. The dog I watched today had to set the branch down every few feet to get a better grip and continue on. His owner watched and waited fondly.
Suddenly, I felt better about my leafy acquisitions. They sit beside my desk lamp to remind me that I am an earthly creature, hanging on, shifting color, dropping and dying…Then changing form to find new life.
Some delights from this week:
Met with my slightly extended family to spread and bury my parents’ ashes. Delight seems the wrong word, but it was sacred and tender and filled with love.
Saw the life-affirming movie, Gravity.
Watched 50+ people unload a truckload of 900+ pumpkins. Many hands made it look easy.
Spent some time thinking of my ancestors with gratitude.
Met with a nurse to get a baclofen increase. Caring, good-humored medical workers make my life so much easier!
Had a nice visit with an old friend.