Capturing Joy

12 07 2011

Image via Wikipedia

A favorite thinker of mine, SARK, has a knack for maximizing small moments for big effect. Her micromovement system overcomes procrastination in the blink of an eye, and she advocates taking (and making) tiny adventures everyday.

I believe in something similar: capturing the joy in mini moments.

What if your outlook on the day could be instantly improved? I am prone to think this is impossible magic, but I find, if I am open to the change, it is possible.

Here are some encapsulated joys that have made my week so far:

  • The little dip in the road on my commute home that feels like riding my bike down a certain hill from childhood.
  • Standing on the balcony on the final evening of a heat wave, anticipating the cooler air to come.
  • Tasting homemade honey right out of the jar.
  • The moment I looked out and saw the first flower I’d grown from seed since I was a kid.
  • Savoring in-season raspberries while listening to hold music during my chaotic work day.

Each of these moments have made my days better. What if we even went a step further and recorded our captured joys often, or just whenever we felt like it? Then we could live the joys all over again.

What are some of your encapsulated joys?


Bucket List

29 06 2011
Bucket List word cloud #1

Image by mccmicb via Flickr

Just write one already! You’ll be crazy surprised at some of the items in a few years. Think of it as present Self kicking future Self in the Carpe Diem.

I realize I cannot motivate you without sharing a few gems from my own list. I give these up only in the hope that they will inspire you to do things similar or totally opposite to them. After all, a bucket list should be full of slightly crazy things you need to write down to gather the courage to ever attempt.

Colleen’s Bucket List: A Sample

  • Drive a dog sled team.
  • Help build our cabin.
  • Publish my writing.
  • Backpack for a week or longer.
  • Zipline. In Costa Rica.

Of course, your bucket list can (and should!) contain the seemingly mundane things that support these and other dreams. More from my list:

  • Learn to bellydance.
  • Speak Spanish.
  • Knit a sweater.
  • Own land.

May I pry? What’s on your bucket list?

Spring Awakenings

7 04 2011

Longwood Gardens, Spring 2010

When most people think about spring doings, cleaning and yard work jump to mind. I would like to propose that awakening be on our agenda.

What projects, plans and dreams have you postponed, either since New Year’s or indefinitely? Did winter bog you down under blankets and gray skies? Throw off your misgivings! Today is never too late, but if not now, when?

My own Spring projects include: writing regularly; continued career movement; and reading an educational book on my lunch break.

While I may not be in a job of my preference, I decided that my lunch hour is at least 30 minutes in which to stimulate my brain with continuing education. Besides – and you may not be much different in this respect – I have many “educational” books I mean to read but which, in the evenings, end up playing a sad second fiddle to magazines and fun fiction. First up: Off the Grid, by Nick Rosen. Review will follow!

I’m sure I will throw more cleaning in there, too. After all, there is a reason Spring cleaning remains prevalent – we feel the ancient urge to mimic nature’s blooming with new growth in our own lives. Allow your cleaning to inspire you.

What are your Spring awakenings?

The Town without a Place

5 04 2011
Cul-de-sacs: Atlanta Image copyleft: Image tak...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve noticed something disturbing lately.

The people in my town live nowhere.

Ice cream trucks run in the cold of early March. People wear shorts and forgo jackets after the first warm day, despite the weather turning chill again. Gardens are mostly absent; a lawn statue here, a wagon wheel there seem to suffice. Christmas decor remains until spring, and I think I know why.

You see, my town is not really a town. It is a development that crawled in one long line, connecting the city to the historic town at its end, with townhouses and cul-de-sacs snaking away into the rural area on either side. As a result of its utilitarian birth, its residents seem to have no identity, no culture, and certainly no connection to the place they live. They could be living anywhere, and so I say they live nowhere at all.

Cultivating a sense of place is vital to protecting the nature we say we appreciate. Right now I gain such joy each day from the incremental unveiling of nature – a new tree blooming there, more grass cropping up here. The way most of my neighbors walk, heads down, or drive distracted, I doubt many see these fascinating changes. This may be the one of many unfortunate reasons that invasive species are left to shove out native, that we just set a heat record for early April, and that more people than ever call themselves environmentalists but lack a true connection to Earth.

Do you live in a town without a place? Don’t let it get you down; just noticing where you are can combat this zombie nation.

Friends and Circles of Friends

23 02 2011

I’ve noticed, finally and irrevocably: I am sorely lacking a true “circle of friends.” Some people may never have many friends, so I’m told. My personality profile suggests that I am one who makes few deep connections due to feeling a lack of intimacy with most, and I believe that’s true.

Nevertheless, I am prone to wonder: as adults, do people stop calling most of their friends, especially if they live outside of a certain radius? Is this due to laziness or a sense that their time is better invested elsewhere?

So I now ask you, directly: what is your experience with growing older and your circle of friends – has it shrunk, enlarged or remained the same?


Perchance to Dream?

6 02 2011
New Gold Dream...

Image by law_keven via Flickr

I’ve been thinking about dreams lately – the ones we have but doubt they will ever be anything other than that.

We are now in February, the month where New Year’s resolutions often go to die. We are stuck inside, staring glumly at another storm out there, wishing instead for warm breezes and sandals. This can do a number on our resolve to change our lives for the better. We think, what does it matter? I will make resolutions again next year. It’s too cold to do anything worthwhile.

Of course, you know what I’m going to say: Not so! But I don’t want to admonish you to stick to your resolutions. Rather, I want to exhort you to stick to your dreams. Don’t let the fire die, whether it’s the passion you have for your art or bowling, or an actual fireplace you dream of.

Make lists and charts; draw diagrams; write lengthy imaginations of what you desire to be. Not only will you wile away the gray hours of February; you’ll be paving the way for Spring, too. And Spring is never truly far behind.

So, I want to know: what’s  your dream for yourself, for others you know – for whatever?

And so it is New Years . . .

2 01 2011
2008 Taipei City New Year Countdown Party: The...

Image via Wikipedia

Well, actually, yesterday was. Now it is January 2nd, and the resolutions tend to fall away like wrapping paper and party hats. Heaving a great sigh, people return to their jobs and brace for the rest of the winter, thinking about summer or maybe an upcoming vacation. Whether or not it snows, the magic of the season just passsed seems lost in the landscape.

What can we do to prolong the joy of Christmas and the determination of New Year’s Day? Perhaps it is our most subtle habits – our comfortable ways of thinking – that sabotage our best efforts to keep Christmas in our hearts and lose ten pounds this year. Maybe, if we defied the depression, rebelled against complacency and encouraged enthusiasm the rest of the year with the vigor we show in the holiday season, our sometimes empty vows to do so would prove true.

Oh, we should probably post our resolutions where we’ll see them, too. What unique resolutions have you made this year?

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