Although I like to think of myself as being a spiritual person; one who is in touch with those parts of themselves and those parts of the universe that are not completely concrete, the truth of the matter is that I am a mostly practical, earthy type. I would say that I am about 12.5% Woo Woo and 87.5 Practical. I like to blend that little bit of Woo with the mostly earthbound. For instance, I am a regular meditator (at least 5x per week). That’s the airy, ethereal part BUT, I don’t sit in stillness and try to be one with anything. I already know I am one with everything. I just take that for granted. What can I get out of meditation is the question for me. How can it affect my life. Turns out- it does.
The individual, weird details about how I meditate are actually irrelevant. I made a whole bunch of stuff up and it works for me. It involves tapping into my inner wisdom, lots of gratitude, some pleading for help and stillness. The important, concrete part of my meditation practice is that I ALWAYS – with NO exceptions- gain some sort of insight into something during my meditation times. Some times it is a big insight and sometimes small but almost always noteworthy. I always keep something to write with and I will literally STOP my meditation and write the insight down. Or else I will forget. I have filled almost an entire journal with insights, ideas and solutions. My job is to implement them into my life. That is the not so easy part. What follows below is one such idea I had that came to me during a meditation. I am not claiming to have invented this. Someone else could certainly have put this out there. I am saying that My Head is the first place I heard this. It is – how to implement many small joyous things into your life every day so you will experience little bits of joy on a regular basis. In lieu of sitting around waiting for giant moments to pop up. Like…after 26 years the Toronto Raptors won the NBA Championship! My city and our entire country is overjoyed right now. We waited 26 years for this. Too long. Make a plan for experiencing Joy, right now. Then start soaking it up.
THE JOY PLAN.
Step one- Consider yourself a Sensual person. You are. And by that, I don’t mean “sexy”. I mean, you are a person who experiences the world through your senses. Yes, there are some of us with structural or sensory challenges for whom those physical senses are impaired or even non existent. Those folks can do this exercise too with whatever senses available to them. Accept that you are a creature of sensuality. Think of small children and animals who seek out sensual fulfillment every minute of every day. Rub my belly. Play with my hair. What’s that sound? I think I will just stare intensely at this blade of grass. You are that creature. It will be good to get in touch with your little kid/animal nature.
Step Two– Consider all five of your senses. You know what they are. Sight. Sound. Smell. Taste. Touch.
Step Three– Under each of your senses, list FIVE things that bring you joy within that sense. Five things that bring you joy when you SEE them. Five that bring you joy to TASTE. And so on.
Step Four- Break it down or organize it how you want. But be sure to do this. Take the time to acknowledge, notice, and savour them every time they come up spontaneously. AND, take the time to make concrete plans for IMPLEMENTING these things in to your every day life to the extent that you can. That’s your Joy Plan.
Here is mine.
SIGHT- a perfectly brilliant blue sky with pure white fluffy clouds. A painting of my grand daughter. Green leafy plants in white plant posts. A lovely dressing table arrangement. Very foggy mornings.
SOUND– Rain, rain,rain. Drizzly rain, hard downpouring rain. Wind chimes. The soft jangle of bangles on a woman’s wrist. Babies cracking up. The sound of ocean waves.
SMELL– All my favourite delicious perfumes. The sea. Rice and peas cooking on a Sunday. Towels that have been dried outside in the sun and the wind. Dried eucalyptus leaves.
TASTE– Ackee and saltfish with all the fixins. That first sip of tea in the morning. The taste of some one’s mouth when you kiss them for the first time and it confirms that you really do like them. Cherry tomatoes warm from the sun, straight off the vine. A glass of Pepsi with ice on a hot day.
TOUCH- the top of a baby’s head. Cool, crisp clean sheets. The feel of your lovers back against yours in the middle of the night. A really good massage that includes scalp and feet. The first 10 seconds when you sink into a hot steamy bath.
I have way more than 5 for each sense but you get the idea, right? Some of these I can deliberately incorporate into my life and some I need to be on the look out for. When those times just show up, I need to jump on them. Go ahead and ask the lady in the grocery store if you can just squeeze her baby’s thighs for a minute. Who knows, she might say yes! The point is to make it a conscious effort. Once in a while Joy will show up like a big, lovely surprise. Celebrate and treasure those moments. But, don’t live a drab, grey existence waiting for those times to happen. Cutivate your joy EVERY DAY. I can make a lovely dressing table, watch videos of laughing babies, keep dried eucalyptus leaves in my house and kiss that guy… Yes, I can. That’s me chasing down Joy. It is a worthwhile pursuit.