Punctuating our everyday with delight….
‘Happiness is not something you achieve. It’s not something you do or someplace you get to. Happiness is something you inhabit’.
How wonderful to be delighted. Delight you say? How trivial. Hmmm — perhaps, but I believe it is quite a meaningful concept. Delight whether subtle or raging proffers unexpected joy; a jolt of the heart, warmth dispersed through our soul, a wrapping of comfort. And it is never more appreciated than in the small acts that happen with or around us. The profoundness of such accents punctuate our existence to give our everyday meaning. So it is necessary for each of us to contemplate delight and consider how it can be threaded through our lives. Because we each deserve to have moments of being bewitched and transported.
‘My advice to the person suffering from lack of time and from apathy is this: Seek out each day as many as possible of the small joys’.
A friend jogged my thoughts recently and reminded me why this notion resonates so deeply. I became ill many years ago. Quite seriously. One of my cost centres was young (the other not yet born) and I was all consumed with this tiny being. The thought of being torn away from him before my time was unbearable; one of the tortures no parent should have to confront. But I hadn’t a choice — it was a possibility. However there was a strange silver lining. This wretched situation forced me to consider my own mortality; look inwards to understand what imprint of myself I was leaving behind. As I distilled, I realised I desperately desired my child to be safe and secure — which parent doesn’t. At the same time I also wanted him to learn how to make the most of life — be happy and content. Yet if I didn’t know what the key to unlocking this was — what had I to convey?
And this is where delight enters the fray.
I came across a book by Ross Gay called ‘The book of delights’. I love the concept. Each day over a year he wrote a miniature essay — an ‘essayette’ he calls them, on a moment that had given him pure happiness.
Gay writes : ‘It didn’t take me long to learn that the discipline or practice of writing these essays occasioned a kind of delight radar. Or maybe it was more like the development of a delight muscle. Something that implies that the more you study delight, the more delight there is to study… I felt my life to be more full of delight. Not without sorrow or fear or pain or loss. But more full of delight. I also learned this year that my delight grows — much like love and joy — when I share it’.
What does this suggest for each of us? For me it entails trying to find enchantment in every day with a thrill that does not need to be on a significant scale; important or fashionable. Strangely mundanity can be a huge source of relish. I find pleasure in surprise with the mysterious perfume I spray on myself that day; engaging in kind words with a stranger, munching hot buttered toast, learning a new word….. We each have within our grasp the power to add a little happiness to our day but it takes time and effort to appreciate what tickles our soul. The lovely sense of delight cherishes our individuality; these little packets of elation are distinctive to the person. Your delights are not my delights. And that’s brilliant.
At home we have created our own book of delights in which the family have been writing as it takes our fancy. It’s been fun and the laughter it has generated has been infectious; good for our spirits and affection. Clearly there are many delights we have noted that are downright weird and the number of times my cost centres are ecstatic at their ability to bottom burp on the other in secret is too numerous to explain. However here are a few of our publishable pleasures…..
- A home made bacon sandwich on a lazy Sunday morning….
- Gently waking cost centre 2 who leisurely unfurls his hand to be held….
- Nonsense family banter and giggles late at night all snuggled in our bed…..
- Relishing how cost centre 3 unhurriedly wake ups, stretching, doe eyed, deliberate…
- Xbox play….you can guess who wrote this one!
A poem by Rumi recently bought me delight. It reminded me that there will always be difficult, sad times, but within and around can lurk moments of pure happiness. We should throw open the door and encourage it into our lives.
The Guest house by Jalal al-Dun Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furnitures,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.