What happens when you feel joy, do you smile, laugh, jump up and down with excitement? When was the last time you experienced joy, I mean experienced it in the present moment? Yes I’m sure you can remember joyful, good times but were you joyful the moment they were occurring. We all have things on our minds, bills that need to paid, health worries, issues with work and family. As I said in my previous post, The Present Moment-The Pain Experience, we are not usually fully aware of the moment. We think about the past or obsess about the future. Neither of which can we relive or have control over. I thought about my own life and how many times I’ve experienced joy in the moment, the sad part is I haven’t as much as I should but there’s nothing I can do about that and regrets won’t make those times return. But there is something I can do about now.
Lately, I’ve been trying my best to live in the moment. That may sound easy but it’s not, present living takes practice and mental discipline. The fact is most of have no mental discipline over our thoughts, we usually just let them wander and they usually settle on things that are often just distractions from the present. Where are my moments of pure joy, where was I experiencing those and could I practice to train myself to enjoy the present moment?
I must tell you, Seattle is a beautiful city and I don’t mean you have to drive to far spots or places to see the beauty. I mean you could literally step out of your door and gasp in wonder at the natural beauty here. My husband and I have been taking weekend day trips for a way to relax and enjoy one another’s company this summer. I really do find joy in those trips with my husband, I can’t say I’ve disciplined myself to the point that I do that everyday but those days I do try my best. We are comfortable in each other’s company, we laugh, talk and enjoy the scenery. I try at those moments to not focus on my worries because my nature is to be a tad fretful. My husband and I are both Taurus so we’re always planning, which can certainly take you out of the present moment. I’m not saying anything against planning but obsessing about planning will make you miss the life you’ve planned out.
After I started to delve more into present moment living, I made the effort to experience it. The first time I experienced it, I didn’t realize I actually had. That’s the best thing about present moment living when you do it right you don’t realize you’re doing it at all until later, you just get to enjoy the experience. My first conscious experience was a night we went roller skating, my husband doesn’t roller skate but he didn’t realize that until he started to try it was an amusing sight. I love roller skating, have since I was a child. That night was fantastic to me, I took to the floor easily and before you knew it I was gliding in and out of the other skaters like a swan. I felt the breeze from the air conditioner on my face, although the crowd was there with noise and kids, I felt like it was just me on that floor skating to the music. I love to skate backward more than forward so I just turned and glided backward in circles. I loved it and when I realized later the feeling of unadulterated joy I felt I actually started crying in joy. It was a purely joyful experience I had for joy’s sake. I didn’t put any confines on it, I didn’t measure it, I wasn’t worried about how long it did or didn’t last, I just experienced it. The next time I remember it happening was on a sunny afternoon in my apartment. I have not been in the greatest of health since earlier that year, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism which makes you intensely fatigued. But that day I had spurt of rare energy and it was just after Donna Summer had passed, I wanted to celebrate her life through her music which I’d grown up on. I put on the Donna Summer station on Pandora and I just started to dance there was so much good music on it. All my favorite disco dance tracks, my windows were wide open and the disco was blaring and I was enjoying the moment. I didn’t care, if I was little stiff, I couldn’t dip as low as I used to, my beat was little off, my singing was even more off or all the neighbors could see me; I just wanted the joy of dancing, so I did. I’ve had more joy experiences since those, I have more and more all the time. I’m still learning to discipline my mind and spirit to stay in the present moment when it comes to joy. I am not a master of it but I don’t really worry about that. All I care about is experiencing joy in the present moment, the more I do that the more joyful I become, the less snarky I become and I like that.
My final post will be techniques for you to experience pain and joy in the present moment and give yourself some compassion.