A friend of mine shared a little ritual she uses whenever she takes a walk. She never ends her walk without finding something which delights her. Rarely dominating her time, the search provides a great way of staying present. Finding she notices more of her surroundings, looking for joy breathes peace and purpose into her walks.
Intrigued by the premise, I gave it a try on a recent walk. Sticking to a well worn trail used many times, I was curious if anything new might catch my attention. My previous walks revealed an interesting sight or two, but overall nothing especially “joy worthy”.
Instead of my normal drifting into a semi-conscious state of indifference while listening to my feet pounding the sidewalk, I intentionally remained alert. Engaging my senses, my wonder increased as I gazed about in disbelief.
When looking for Joy, endless possibilities await us if we only stay present to the delights around us.
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
Like handfuls of purpose, God places deliberate delights in our paths every day. At times in the form of people, events, meals, or even the intricate beauties of His creation. All waiting for us if we but take the time for noticing them.
Engaging joy in our days requires intentional presence to the moments we experience, rather than a hurried manner of getting through.
Mary Oliver’s poem, “Mindful” invites this type of intentional engagement with our days.
Every day, I see or hear something
that more or less kills me with delight,
that leaves me like a needle
in the haystack of light.
It was what I was born for-
to look, to listen,
to lose myself inside this soft world- to instruct myself over and over in joy and acclamation
How my heart longs to embrace her phrase, “kills me with delight”! The title of her poem says it all, Mindful. Seeing and hearing something every day which kills me with delight, only happens when I remain present and expectant.
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.Psalm 118:24
looking for joy
Looking for Joy? It is closer than you think. As the Fruit of the Spirit, we possess joy as a product of our salvation. (Galatians 5:22-23) We know joy as the deep abiding confidence of God’s love and Presence even in the midst of hardship.
But God wants us to also experience joy as we delight in Him, His creation and the abundant blessings hidden in our every day moments.
As a way of remaining more mindful this summer, join me in a Joy Scavenger Hunt. Engage joy for a week, two weeks, or the whole summer! Joy hides in plain sight-all around you, and looking for Joy is absolutely FREE!
Creating a Joy Scavenger Hunt is as simple as intentionally engaging your five senses the next time you walk the dog, drive to work, run errands, read emails or relax in your backyard.
Remember, any moment can be a joy moment. Keep a journal with you, or sit quietly with your Joy Journal in the evening seeping in your joy treasures from the day.
Much the same as you use a gratitude journal, keep a running record of the joys you find within your day.
A few things I keep in my journal:
- Things I see. Small and large, balloons on a mailbox, new flowers blooming, bright orange shoes, unusual creatures. Sunrises, sunsets, starry nights. You get the idea.
- Things I hear. Favorite music, inspirational songs, kind words, comical words. Bird songs, crickets chirping, backyard fountain.
- Things I smell. My favorite essential oils, roses in my garden, bread baking. The air after a rain storm, fresh cut grass, potted herbs.
- Things I touch. Soft, velvety flower petals, bumpy strawberries, cool leaves. Soft curly hair, smooth skin, callused feet.
- Things I taste. Rich, smooth coffee, bubbly, cold Pellgrino, tangy kombucha. Spicy cinnamon, sweet thyme, silky cheesecake.
Intentionally engaging my senses opens up numerous possibilities for the delights God has incorporated into my days. He longs for me to experience and take joy in all His good things.
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.Isaiah 55:12
picture perfect joy
Uplevel your Joy Scavenger Hunt by creating a photo diary. Instead of writing about your joy experiences, snap a photo. Create a slideshow put to music, or a joy-filled scrapbook. Catalog by the month, and notice how the seasons change too.
Stay loose and capture random items as you notice them each day, or create your own themes for the day, week or month. Invite family and friends to join you and share photos.
A few fun themes I like:
- Colors. Pick a color theme and stay alert for people, things, even animals displaying that color!
- Smiles. Capture all the smiles you see in a day, week or month! Children, adults-animals! (I had a dog who smiled, for real)
- Butterflies. Summer is the best time for capturing photos of butterflies.
- Flowers. Any flower, or pick a particular type, roses, daisies, lilies…
- Oddities. Anything out of the ordinary. I once saw a peacock in a wheat field.
- Art. Creativity is everywhere; a friends house, your office, church, medical offices and downtown. Snap what brings a smile to your face.
- Pets. What else makes us smile more easily than our beloved pets?
Have fun with capturing everything which “kills you with delight” for one whole week. You may find this Joy Scavenger Hunt addictive.
joy is closer than you think
Intentionally looking for Joy reminds us God’s goodness greets us in the daily, mundane moments we often rush past. Mindfully embracing our days opens our eyes to the handfuls of Joy God places in plain sight.
No matter how difficult the day, God hides Joy within our moments reminding us of His unfailing love and constant Presence.
Ultimately, lingering with Joy found within our days, ushers us deeper into God’s Presence and His fullness of Joy hidden there.