As the autumn sunlight lit up the trees outside my window, my heart just soared and I rushed out to wander in the garden and marvel at the sheer beauty of it. After days of dismal fog, it was magical to see so many shades of copper, auburn and gold sparkling against the bluest of skies. I was filled with a sense of awe and gratitude!
We may well be in the midst of a pandemic, constricted or locked down, and finding the days monotonous, while sadly many are suffering loss, or grieving or are anxious about the future. Uncertain times are not easy to deal with - we’re not in control of events - which is galling, but actually it’s an illusion to think we ever really were! Life is more uncertain than we ever care to believe.
Somehow, if we want to stay sane, we have to find a way to accept that things are as they are. We may well feel challenged and irritated by the disruption the pandemic has brought into our lives, but there are also possibilities in the present moment if we can just allow it to be as it is, and be patient and trust. If we pay attention to our immediate surroundings, we may yet be surprised by joy, just as I was when I looked out of my window.
In the same way, a beautiful work of art, a piece of music, a poem, a flower, the aroma of coffee brewing, a phone call from a friend, or a smile from a passer-by - there are so many things that can lift our spirits when we pay attention and try not to be distracted and pulled hither and thither by everything going on around us. Focusing on the breath is a great help, slowing us down so that we become more in touch with how we’re feeling.
Covid 19 has made many of us reassess our lives and think about wellbeing and what we truly value, and what really make us feel joyful. I was thrilled to hear that the first Happiness Museum - the first in the world to be devoted to the subject - has opened in Copenhagen. What a great idea! Bhutan has been measuring gross national happiness since the 1970s and is renowned for the happiness of its population. We in the West have tended to be more interested in making money and being successful or famous, but hopefully we’ve now come to see how pointless that is as a pursuit. The pandemic is bringing about some fundamental changes as we witness our old way of life collapse.
In the end we’ve come to see that what matters most is family, friends and community, our fellow brothers and sisters, and the life of our shared planet. If we choose to open our eyes and our hearts we will also see that the possibilities for joy are endless.
Affirmation for the day I see joy is never far from me when I pay attention