“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” Henry David Thoreau
I was listening to a podcast while on a walk the other day. The speaker was doing a series on “The gift of everyday joy”.
She spoke of doing our chores and mundane tasks with joy and gratefulness. I was thinking to myself, how can I enjoy cleaning the bathroom? But as she spoke, it really wasn’t about being joyful while cleaning the bathroom, it was about my attitude while cleaning the bathroom.
While doing a little research on this subject, I pulled out one of my favorite books, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I have read and reread this book many times. I am always inspired by her words, live them for a day or two, then fall off the wagon.
But as I age, I am learning to create comfort and contentment. As Sarah states “Even lousy days have hidden wonder.” That is so true!
It is my attitude that adjusts my day. For example, I can get crazy mad while sitting in standstill traffic for over a hour or I can put on some soothing classical music and enjoy the ride. I can put off cleaning the bathroom or I can scrub it clean, put out clean towels and sweet smelling soap and be happy. Taking pride in my home. It is up to me on how I want my mood to be.
I have studied my husband as he walks calmly through our cattle. The cattle can spook easily and can be dangerous. He has a way of gently soothing them as he talks to them and rubs their heads. He could easily work them into a frenzy if he wasn’t calm and easy going. He has a gift of a keeping calm under all circumstances, even his very hectic work life. This has taught me to pace myself and be calm, even in the most volatile situations. “Perception comes only when we pace ourselves”
One of my favorite quotes by Thomas Moore states ” It is through small details of everyday life.” It is a reminder to see the small gifts that are presented to us everyday! Like a turkey feather that gives Tess a little sassiness. That first sip of coffee, putting on rose scented hand lotion right before I go to bed or walking in the pasture while our grandson rides his tractor. All small, glorious events that make up a big, glorious day.
We have the absolute control over the quality of our day. Flannery O’Conners close friend, Sally Fitzgerald came up with the phrase Habit of Being. These three simple little words have lots of meaning. The Habit of Being is a grateful appreciation for the good surrounding us no matter the circumstances.
With our busy lives, even a glimpse of a sweet moment like the pep talk from our daughter to her son before T-ball.
Or a private serenade from our oldest grandson at sunset can account for the Habit of Being.
My parents taught me to be observant of, embrace and respect nature. That is where I find my solace. Where I can form my habit of being.
I am training myself to receive these everyday gifts of joy. To not rush by in haste and not notice the beauty that is there for the taking.
It calms my soul and refreshes my spirit when I witness kindness, mercy, grace and honor. It is all around us if we are observant.
I don’t have to like cleaning the bathroom, but I can do it to the best of my ability. To clean and do chores with a sense of art and gratefulness. Why be in a bad mood when we can just as easily be in a happy mood? I use the old saying “Fake it until you make it” I sometimes have to fake my way to being in a happy mood. Then I wonder why I was so grouchy to begin with! We all have responsibilities and hard things we have to do. Put it in perspective, tackle each task with grace and pride and before your know it, it is done! And THAT is a big gift of joy…
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is a though everything is a miracle” Albert Einstien
So go get your gift of everyday Joy!
Oh you always make me think. You are so right life is not to be fretted over and stressed about it is to be enjoyed and appreciated and not taken for granted. You are blessed to have grandchildren. I am expecting our first one any day now and I look forward to sharing the joy of little things in our lives. Nice post Cindy. Hugs B
I am currently reading the Habit of Being. I’ve had it for years and finally picked it up although it will take me a long time to get through it. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m taking a break from it now to read Flannery’s short stories. Joy is a choice for sure. St. Therese the Little Flower wrote much about doing small things with great love and it’s life changing.