stilling: learning to love your ordinary life

stilling - choose joy - learning to love your ordinary life @poetryjoy.com

“This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” — Maya Angelou

So often fear of change nibbles at our souls like a restless rat. It makes us fail to appreciate what we already have before us, right here, right now. I find myself falling into a dissatisfaction trap whenever I forget to live with mindful awareness and a joyful and grateful heart.

We can get so caught up in the challenges, fears and frustrating minutiae of life that we neglect to lift up our heads and appreciate where and how we are really situated. God is the giver of all good gifts, and He strews gifts of grace along each person’s daily pathway—but we need receptive eyes, stilled minds, and open hearts to see, sense and be thankful for them. 

Because each day presents us with an opportunity to taste joy, sense the marvellous in the mundane, express our gratitude, and give God praise for who He is and how He takes such great care of us. 

stilling - forest - trees - God is the giver of all good gifts quote (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

“So much has been given to me; I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied.” — Helen Keller

Stilling

I hold my breath—as if I could
still the clock, hold back
the swinging seasons, perhaps,

call time on winter’s
cold, dark, muffled cloak,
the icy grip of SAD that sends
me to my inner knees.

Can I not simply
still time on this moment’s
pendulum, which I prefer

to those that have gone
before? Those lockdown
days, weeks and months
of great adaptation and change.

My mind (helpfully) reminds
me that nothing stays
the same. Each dull routine

still has to yield
to the unexpected,
the suddenness of the new
or the long neglected.

Yet something in me
feels as if I want
to remain rooted in Now,

to savour summer
before it segues into autumn,
get my fill of light, of warmth,
of hope, and snatches of joy.

Then another thing
comes to my remembrance,
and I muse on the way

each day has opportunity
to receive such gifts
if I remain receptive enough

to notice, and still
my heart to not reject them.
© joylenton

stilling - dandelion clock - stilling poem excerpt (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

“As long as this exists, this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?” — Anne Frank

Although I frequently want to press pause on the moments I enjoy because they seem so fleeting, it isn’t a life of busy eventfulness I crave but a stilled, peaceful soul saturated in holy satisfaction, love and grace.  Keeping a daily gratitude journal helps us stay calm and content. Here are 3 things I’m grateful for:

  • having energy and focus enough to write this post
  • our tomatoes are greening at last, if not reddening yet
  • I prepared this before a scorching heatwave hit to fog my thoughts

What are you thankful for today, my friend? 🙂 ❤

joy in developing happiness habits

write31days-journeying-into-joy-developing-happiness-habits

 

An open cup greets me from this proteus flower. It’s a reminder to be just as open and aware, as receptive to God’s light, love mercy and grace in life’s daily spaces. I long to be alert and open to joy in my daily grind, to awaken to wonder, look for the soul sustenance it provides while I seek to offer hope and encouragement to others.

It’s not always easy, is it? Joy may be like a fragrant bouquet blooming in our hearts and homes but we need eyes to see it and a disposition of openness to receive it. Clenched fists, sour thoughts and ungrateful hearts are not well placed to receive such a  gift.

The poem below grew out of a hunger to live with open hands, mind and heart…

Welcome

Good morning, new day

I want to welcome you

with arms wide open

I long to make room

in every receptive way

for your ordinary wonder

and let hope bloom strong

within by gift of grace

©JoyLenton2016

It takes grace to even begin to see the gift of joy seeping into our days. We remain blind to these things without a holy opening.

But there are ways to help ourselves, to train eye and soul in the pursuit of joy. It takes a deliberate desire, a willing spirit and an ability to be patient while we nurture the seed of joy within.

“You prepare for the journey to a happier life by nourishing your heart with truth, beauty and love, by filling your soul with forgiveness and letting go, by changing to become the authentic person you were created to be” ~ Daniel O’Leary  ‘The Happiness Habit’

Maybe it also includes these 4 ‘A’s to finding deeper joy:

  • Acceptance instead of resistance – to God’s will and work in us
  • Adaptation rather than consternation – when life hits hard
  • Awareness more than ignorant bliss – by searching the Scriptures for God’s take on this
  • Appreciation over resignation – having an attitude of gratitude in all things

“I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart” ~ Psalms 40:8 NLT

The longer we linger in God’s presence, the more joy filled and joyful we will become.

“Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place” ~ 1 Chronicles 16:27 NIV

We can rejoice in God’s daily help, strength and protection.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield: my heart trusts in him and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” ~ Psalm 28:7 NIV

Praise and worship lend themselves to another blog post for another day, such is their effect on maintaining joy. But I hope and pray you will be blessed by today’s reflection.

31-days-of-journeying-into-joy-badge

Welcome to #day22 of #write31days of journeying into joy! Thank you for keeping me company here.

Please feel free to share your own happiness habits in the comments below. 

write31days-journeying-into-joy-happiness-habits-welcome-poem