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A quick practice to help you feel more joy this week (or whenever you need it)

Today I’d like to share with you a quick practice to help you feel more joy this week.

But first, a quick story. A while back, I was in the middle of a particularly busy season, with a million things to do. And it was taking a toll on my spirits. I was run-down, weary, and so tired, I coudn’t even summon up the energy to plan anything fun for myself. 

When I got to my monthly session with my spiritual director, I told her how I was feeling. She asked me: What does your spirit need?

Immediately an image came to me: bubbles! 

What?! 

Yes, bubbles! 

I remembered how much fun it was when I was a kid, blowing bubbles with a straw in my glass of milk. That sound I remembered so well, the silly glurba-glurba-glurba sound of milk bubbles, triggered a giddy giggle, and my mind was off and running. 

What else did my spirit need? Oooh, a spa getaway would be so nice! Somewhere I could get a massage, and soak in a nice warm bath, and lounge around in one of those wonderful terrycloth robes. 

I lost myself in pleasant spa thoughts for a few minutes. Then I remembered: 

My husband is a massage therapist and we have a massage table in our home. (I know, I am so lucky!) We also have a bathtub, which I hadn’t used in years. And I have a very comfy terrycloth robe that I hadn’t worn in months. 

Whoa! The very things I was dreaming of were literally available to me, for free, in my own home. 

But I had been so focused on getting stuff done, I hadn’t even allowed myself to think about what small, easy things might bring some more joy into my day.  

So all that next week, my spiritual discipline was to be on the lookout for small ways I could “spa-ify” my day. 

When I was getting ready in the morning, instead of thinking about the work tasks ahead, I tried to focus on the feel of the hot water on my hair, the nice minty taste of my toothpaste, the pleasant sensation of drying my face with a clean, fresh towel. 

When I took a sip of tea, rather than being on half-conscious autopilot, I tried to really taste it. 

When I was at my desk, I took an extra few seconds to really notice the view out my window.

Just notice all the beautiful, restorative moments that were already happening each day. 

I could hardly believe how much lighter I felt that week. So much more more easeful, more joyful. 

That’s the essence of the practice I want to suggest to you today: 

First, take a minute to ask yourself what would bring you more joy. 

Think about that question: what would bring you more joy? Let your mind get curious and playful. And notice what comes up. An idea? An image? A memory? Just notice. Allow yourself to be surprised.   

Then, whatever comes up, be on the lookout for how those things that bring you joy are showing up in your life already. 

Where do you notice those things, even in small ways? Pay attention and appreciate them in the moment. 

And ask yourself, how could you bring more of those things into your life?

It’s that simple. Try this for a week, and you might be amazed at how much joy is already there for you, just waiting for you to notice.

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