Moments of Joy

Eat your favorite food. Take a walk. Look at a beautiful flower. Listen to your favorite song. All these things can bring you moments of joy. However, that joy is only realized if we are cognizant of it. Unfortunately, too many times the joyful moments in our lives go unrecognized. If we could perceive and remember the joyful moments we experience, we will be bound to feel greater happiness, in our lives, in general.

Interestingly, when people cannot do certain things they feel unhappy. If the doctor tells you that you cannot eat your favorite food, you might initially feel unhappy. If you lose your ability to walk or see or hear, you will no doubt find yourself with a challenge to your happiness. That is not to say that you cannot overcome those impediments and still be happy. Yet, they will certainly present challenges to happiness.

And yet, though we will no doubt become unhappy if we suddenly lose our sight, how many of us take joy, on a daily basis, from the blessing that is our ability to see. Again, I have met people who have lost their sight and have been able to find joy. However, none of us aspire to lose our senses. At the same time, though losing our senses is likely to make us unhappy, at least in the short term, most of us take little time to actively find joy in the fact that we do have our senses.

This is the human conundrum. We take lots for granted in life. It reminds me of the saying, “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” Now, certainly none of us aspire to not have shoes. Yet, how many of us actively reflect on the things we do have and take joy from that?

Perhaps, the greatest tonic for happiness in life is to work at truly experiencing and remembering moments of joy. To see a beautiful sunset is joyful, if we choose to experience that joy. Maybe, one way to experience it is to think about what it might be like if we could no longer experience it.

The words of the great singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell come to mind, from her song Big Yellow Taxi, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone …” Let’s not wait until things are gone to appreciate them. Let’s experience moments of joy now.

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