Invite Happiness & Joy

My mornings often begin like this: up between 5 & 5:15, on my mat or writing between 5:15 & 6:10, out for a dog walk between 6:10 & 6:40.

I struggle with these dark, cold, early-morning walks because a) it’s dark, b) it’s cold, c) it’s early. But that’s been our routine since we’ve moved to western Massachusetts so that Jonathan can get to work on time.

This winter, however, despite the darkness and cold, I’ve been a little less cranky about our morning walks. Each day that passes feels a step closer to the warmth of our awaiting spring. Each day that passes brings us a little more light. In fact, I’ve taken to observing the changes in the sky each morning. Today, at about 6:25am, the sky was streaked with light-blue bands, hinting at the day to come. And by 6:40am, when we arrived back on our porch, darkness was lifting to reveal a gray-blue beginning of the day.

Earlier this morning on my mat I read a passage by Thich Naht Hanh, which linked happiness to mindfulness; how bringing more awareness into our actions and experiences can invite joy into our hearts and into our lives; how becoming more aware of what is around us can allow us to move out of stressing out and planning and get back in touch with the “conditions of happiness that are inside us and all around us.”

I thought about this passage as I moved and breathed, feeling the sensations of my tight, sleepy, morning-body gradually opening into side bends and twists. In truly experiencing the shifting from tight and creaky to space and fluidity I found the joy of moving, the joy of this quiet, early-morning time, the joy of simply being in my body.

I carried this passage with me into my walk, looking purposely for the shifts in the sky, knowing the joy the light brings me, hoping to experience moments of joy in this new day.

Take a moment right now and look out the window - what do you see? Can you see the sun or the stars or a tree? Close your eyes – can you feel your breath moving in and moving out? This is the simple truth of the moment – this is the miracle – this is the natural joy of what is already there.

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