Episode 120 Finding Joy – Those 5-Star Moments
Welcome to the Love Your Story podcast. Today’s episode is about JOY! Men and women are that they might have joy and there is a simple way to find it. It’s all about paying attention to the in-between moments in our stories because that’s where the magic happens. Stay tuned for this quick reminder about being present to the moments that bring you joy and let’s get 2019 started off on the best possible foot – not so much about change, instead let’s just talk about finding the joy in our lives and living into it with gusto and new eyes.
A life story holds those big moments. The ah-ha moments. The defining moments – the child is born, the lesson is learned, the new job is landed, the trip that started the domino effect is embarked upon.
These are beautiful moments caught in the nets of memory, but the real magic isn’t there. The real magic is so much quieter. So quiet in fact, if you don’t open your eyes and heart you miss the magic all together – and that would be a shame, because this is the magic that makes joy the landscape.
Let me explain.
My favorite morning moment is sitting with a war mug of vanilla chai tea. Delicious, comforting and slow. It’s magic every morning.
I love blue sky days with trees full of green leaves. As I walk my dog Rocky, around the block I revel in the color; joy and gratitude are like a deep sigh because instead of being caught up in what I have to do, or the latest stress, I stop and look and listen and say prayers of gratitude. I notice the sparkle of the sun off a puddle or the sound of kids playing and laughing, or the fresh air in my lungs. The little things we miss a million times a day because we don’t tune in.
Laughing with my friends – really laughing, that’s a 5-star moment. Skiing a great line, a really good kiss, a freshly mowed lawn or vacuumed floor, real smiles on my son’s faces, quick and witty banter with my siblings.
Life’s defining moments, the joyful spaces, require a simple awareness, or they pass in the fog of the day and your real spaces of joy with it, while we wait for that something big, that huge accomplishment, that next big win, that unforgettable event.
My friend Tonya says her list of small magic includes hugs from her nephew Henry, kisses from her nieces, being photo bombed by her sister, smiling at strangers, making someone laugh, really good friends, reading and having a revelation.
What are your 5-Star moments? And when they happen I want you to stop and take a breath, and just sit in the joy while you whisper out a gratitude.
My life blooms in richness when I am aware of these moments. Every normal day feels rich and magic, supported and blessed. Yours can too. Right now.
One of the reasons we get away from these details is that our 21st Century minds have learned to skim everything. We live in information overload, so instead of soaking in the rich details of our lives, we skim the massive amounts of information and happenings around us to sort where we will put our focus. The down side of this type of management is that the details, the magic spaces, the little things become invisible.
Research from Ohio State University points out that Although adults can beat children at most cognitive tasks, new research shows that children’s limitations can sometimes be their strength. In two studies, researchers found that adults were very good at remembering information they were told to focus on, and ignoring the rest. In contrast, 4- to 5-year-olds tended to pay attention to all the information that was presented to them – even when they were told to focus on one particular item. Proof that being childlike is a more joyful state.
In an article in the HuffPost, Elaine Vilorio wrote in her article, The Art of Noticing, “As a whole, we take everything for granted. If encountered frequently enough, people and tasks seem to become mundane and uninteresting. The walk to and from school becomes just another routine trudge. Your grandparents’ crankiness and need to talk about their past becomes a nuisance, something you are forced to listen to in order to maintain familial decorum. Your classmates and friends become people that you think you know well, or at least well enough…Your life, and everything in your life, seems to be relatively well-known. Yet, life is not like that at all. In fact, life is a wondrous, mysterious thing. Your life is something remarkable, with new things to be discovered every day, every hour, every second and every minute.
Life is so interesting! I loathe, absolutely loathe, when I see my classmates, colleagues, or friends tweet or talk about how bored they are. How can one be utterly bored in this life? To appreciate this life, one must learn the art of noticing. Noticing is a skill that, at first, requires effort. You have to have the patience to look a second time or a third time or a fourth time or a millionth time. It never ends because there is always something to catch your attention. And it is okay to falter, to become frustrated and stop noticing for a while. One must remember, however, to always come back and notice.
Not too long ago, I stumbled upon a blog titled “Walking to Listen” by a Mr. Andrew Forsthoefel, a 23-year-old noticing connoisseur. Andrew decided to start walking across the United States with one motive: to listen. Although Andrew is not the only person to begin this feat, his goal — the goal of listening — struck me as unheard of. In describing the reason for his walk, he writes, “I’m walking the country to listen. There’s no such thing as the Average Joe, no such thing as a boring, uninteresting, unexceptional life. This walk is to honor that. Life is fast, and I’ve found it’s easy to confuse the miraculous for the mundane, so I’m slowing down, way down, in order to give my full presence to the extraordinary that infuses each moment and resides in every one of us.” And so, he walks and he meets people, really truly meets them, and he learns their stories. He learns to see the beauty everywhere he crosses because there is beauty in even the shabbiest places and people. Therefore, he notices.”
Joy becomes a moment by moment gift. Today I’m talking about 5-star moments so we can all stop and take stock, reconnect with you by being in touch with your own delight. Today’s podcast is a reminder to savor the moments of your life. The in-between moments, because that’s where your personal magic lies. As we start this new year, my wish for all of us is that we find more joy. The beautiful part of this is that no matter how bad or how good our lives are, finding that joy is within our own power.
By small and simple things our lives play out and those who learn to relish the magic moments are the lucky ones who live in joy. And, here’s the fun part…the more you practice seeing these magic moments, the more of them you see. It’s like they expand and reproduce, just because you’re paying attention. So….you can magnify the joyful moments, just by looking for them.
Now that’s a great way to start out 2019,
Your challenge this week: find your 5-star moments and acknowledge them as they happen. Find your joy in the daily magic. Once it’s a habit, the way you see your story shifts into spaces of fuller joy and recognition of the moments that bring that joy. I used to try to find a magic moment in every day. It’s fun. I’d wait for some wonderful glimpse of joy and then I’d claim it. “This is my magic moment,” I’d say to myself, and I’d just move on letting it soak into my heart. Now I look for more than one.
Walt Whitman said, “Happiness, not in another place, but this place…not for another hour, but this hour…” What are you happy about right now?
Share this episode with someone who could use it today. Who do you wish joy upon? See you next week on the Love Your Story podcast.