Friday, February 18, 2011

paying attention to joy

I, like many people that I've talked to recently have had a hard time dealing with Old Man Winter. A student I was talking to a while back summed it up brilliantly when she simply said, "Everything takes more effort in winter."

Brilliant, right? That rang so true to me. It takes more effort to get up and get going when your bed feels so warm and cozy (especially so when you live in a Big (cold) Blue House). It takes more effort getting dressed, piling on all those layers then topping it off with warm albeit unattractive shoes and a big heavy coat. It takes more effort getting somewhere....going out and warming up your car then cautiously driving on the fresh snow or ice.

I find that in Winter I pretty much brace myself and run from place to place. From the house to the car. Car to the grocery store. Back to car. Into studio. Back to car. Continue to repeat. Winter and early spring is usually when I get sick.

Some people thrive in winter, cold, and snow. I am not one of them. It hurts me. When I'm feeling blah, nature is the best soother for my soul. But in winter time I can't even drag myself out to commune with the trees, ground, and sky. I only look longingly at them through the confines of a window. Patiently awaiting the day that I can frolic in tank tops and flip flops.

Now I'll get to the part about paying attention to joy (bet your glad, right). The Yoga Sutras offer us a very no nonsense way of dealing with the blahs. The sweet lil sutra says,

"unwholesome thoughts can be neutralized by cultivating wholesome ones."

More brilliance. I truly believe that we can develop those qualities that we are drawn to. I am drawn to joy. Usually I'm pretty good at accessing joy, even among daily challenges. Lately I've been noticing my joy-o-meter taking a downwards dip. So I'm being more intentional with joy. Meaning that I'm purposefully doing things that bring me joy and I'm keeping my mind and heart open to realize and receive joy around me.

It doesn't have to be the kind of joy of a new pair of yoga pants or a trip to the tropical paradise of Tulum (although I could never resist this joy). For me gratitude is the gateway to joy.

It can be what I refer to as simple joy. Simple joy was stepping out of the studio last night and seeing the most magnificent full moon and me saying aloud, "Oh my, wow, thank you." And it really went just like that.

Simple joy was driving down the street yesterday with my car window cracked breathing in the fresh warm air.

Simple joy was walking in the cemetery two days ago enjoying laughs and conversation with a yogini amiga.

Simple joy was the walk I took this morning to Main & Maple and seeing my very first tree with buds. It literally stopped me in my tracks. After staring at the tree for at least a minute I snapped the above photo. This little tree on Main St in Nicholasville brought me a tremendous amount of joy.

Thank you kindly Tree. You helped raise my joy-o-meter at least three notches.

How about you, any qualities you are working to cultivate these days?

1 comment:

Where fibers meet mud said...

I am working on trust. I have lots of joy in my life - a grand baby whose smile warms me from head to toe... life friend who loves me more each day... and friends who pick me up when I get low...

But I have a hard time trusting that this is really spring. That the next person I meet is not going to try and destroy me. I have been mugged by life in general and I find it hard to trust.

So I am meeting new people and carefully letting them into my space. I am trying to encounter new experiences and letting their freshness remew my trust.

I have faith that this will resolve itself with my continued efforts.

Thanks for asking...