In June I explored the Daily Art Of A Joyful Life, contemplating how the daily act of choosing to prioritize joyful aspects of life has brought me more inner bliss and outer radiance. This month, I wanted to share some of the tools and techniques that I’ve been talking about with my friends in recent weeks. During each of these conversations, at one point or another, we touched on how we each have the power to infuence the joyfulness we experience each day (or week, month, season, or year!) with our decision on how we chose to ‘spend’ the moments that make up each of those dimensions of time. Time is so valuable, society uses the same word to describe it as a currency!
For me, since I prefer fluidity in my schedule – I’ve never been that attuned to sticking to a rigid daily plan of what things should happen, the sequence in which they occur, and I’m getting better at detaching myself from expectations and outcomes – I’ve started picturing ‘my perfect day’ by defining the activities I aspire to do more of, and being aware of those I want to do less of…with a healthy dose of gratitude thrown in for the flexibility my schedule affords me.
Your Feelings Are Your Compass Showing You The Way
Taking the lead from one of my favorite inspirational authors, Danielle LaPorte, knowing what we want to do more of (or less of), and being aware of how that makes us feel, provides a compass to plan and navigate each day. At the end of my day, I feel a sense of bliss from mindfully focusing on the things that bring me the most pleasure.
By being mindfully in the moment (based on what is important for me to accomplish), and making the most of each moment (with grace and ease – trying not to multi-task or over-commit myself), I’ve been fine-tuning a way to bring more of the following into my life – and choosing to enjoy these experiences with my dear friends and family and sharing them with my local and virtual community whenever I can. Here are some of the points on my compass:
– Choosing to move outside this summer: from going for a leisurely walk, to re-kindling my interest in playing tennis (I took a 20+ year break, ending the hiatus in July!), and taking up golf (completely new to me and I’m hooked!). I’ll be back to SoulCycle and my other indoor exercise once the cold weather hits;
– Exploring New York City and the surrounding areas, particularly during the Summer months: In eight years of living here, I cannot think of a Summer when I have enjoyed so many enriching experiences – with such great company – in the Big Apple and Tri-State area;
– Enjoying the bounty of the season: whether that means enjoying my team and reading the newspaper in the gentle morning sunlight, the eating the produce of the season and noticing how certain fruits and vegetables have their place in the cycle of planting and harvesting;
– Reading fiction for pure pleasure: Yes, an actual book. I love my iPad, but literally turning the page to find out what happens next brings me so much joy. I’m stepping away from Apple TV, Netflix, and Amazon TV… and social media. If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me engrossed in my current read All The Light We Cannot See – it’s a real page turner;
– Making time for creativity: photography – which I share here with each post!;, drawing and – perhaps one day – painting; and playing the piano; and,
– Keeping up with my practice of mindfulness and meditation: via my Kundalini Yoga practice.
If I thought about, or had an opportunity to do, at least one of the things listed above, I’m well on my way to my version of a perfect day. And since not every day will be perfect. I’m also prepared for the inevitable unexpected event or crisis to arise. Even when – not if! – that happens, I aspire to approach those moments with as much grace and ease as I can muster.
My dear friend and mentor, Mary, a well-respected Australian Academic who taught me during my undergraduate studies and supervised my Honors Thesis, generously agreed to share her list with you too:
“I am enjoying life more, and in part it has been because:
– I have changed my attitude – it can change your world;
– Getting back to rhythmic music which I can move to, perspire and smile (Zumba!);
– Keeping up with meditation;
– Listening to the depth of silence, the range of bird calls, the movement of the wind, even the hum of distant traffic;
– Making time for the things that make me happy – rather than letting these be an after thought;
– Accepting that I cannot do it all or even do it well and that that is OK. It is negotiable. And sometimes OK is as good as it can be; and,
– Expressing love and joy often.”
How about you: What are the points on your compass which can navigate you to and through your ‘perfect’ day?