Simple Pleasures

It has been a long time since I sat down to write an essay for this website. My new endeavour, The Living Bridge- Centre for Social Evolution, required a lot of attention. We went to the Total Health Show in Toronto in March and the preparations for this took up most of that month.

April was filled with more personal explorations and now, at the end of this time of old pathways seen in new light, I am happy to emerge into spring. The flowers in our backyard are competing for brilliancy: the bright yellows of the daffodils, the saturated green of the lawn, the deep violet of Violets, the shyly approaching blue and pink hues of forget-me-nots. No matter how gray the sky may be, these colours shine through the clouds and the rain. They remind me of the power of optimism and acceptance.

These past few weeks I had the opportunity to rediscover an old love of mine: simple pleasures. The smell of a flower or a bread in the oven; the colours of those flowers in the backyard; the sound of the neighbour’s kids playing ball; the taste of a hot cup of tea on a cool, rainy afternoon – those things are not only of great comfort but they restore soul and spirit.

All too easily we get lost in the race of everyday life: work, home, food, kids, sports, car – there is too much to do in the day. I, too, got lost in this racing-speed kind of life. Trying to make a living often is difficult enough. Trying to also hold on to some kind of identity and self-respect can seem almost impossible. As always, my clients in the past months reflected this for me. The questions ranged from “How did I get here?” to “Who am I?”

As we were struggling with these questions I had a unsettling experience. On this beautiful weekend a couple of weeks ago I was out in the yard. I had been yearning for this for weeks (if not months) and I had been very excited when the morning brought sunshine and warmth. I had gone outside, tea in hand, assessing the work that needed to be done and then had taken to it with a lot of energy. But after a couple of hours of raking and cleaning out flowerbeds I started to feel something quite different: anger! “Why was I doing all this work? Why wouldn’t my husband help? Surely, he’d appreciate the nice yard but work in it? No.” And on I went.

Now, the thing about our yard, my husband, and me is that from the very beginning it was clear that he is not an outdoors kind of person. He doesn’t like gardening, it doesn’t give him anything, and if there are daffodils or wild bramble bushes in the yard is really not all that big of difference to him. I, on the other hand, love the yard work. I can spend hours taking to the first little buds opening up, digging out weeds that threaten to drown the more delicate flowers, or breathe in the sent of fresh cut grass. It revives me; makes me feel whole, connected and alive. Or at least it used to do that. On that Saturday two weeks ago it didn’t. And that is when I woke up.

I stopped the yard work and sat down in the sun wondering where I had gone wrong. What had happened to me that I had lost connection to the things I loved? And it wasn’t just the yard. I tried to remember when I had truly tasted a salad the last time? When was the last time I had really seen a colour – breathing it in with my whole body, with my heart? When had I really played with the cats last, or truly enjoyed preparing a meal? It had been a long time.

That afternoon I decided to change things. I went back to my yard, but I took the time I knew I had. I took breaks, sipped my tea, cuddled with the cats. I sat and watched the birds hopping across the lawn and admired the blue of the sky with all my heart. It wasn’t all that easy. Several times I had to remind myself to breathe and keep seated instead of jumping up and doing something that had just caught my eye.

In that process I also reconnected to Little. I had been neglecting her for a while, too, and now I heard her remind me that this kind of life and living used to be my normal. And, she reminded me, I used to be happier and more productive living like that. It is true. When I think back at all the things that I could get done in a day I shiver. The secret really was that I loved what I was doing. Or at least I could find some simple pleasure in it somewhere.

Since that moment I have been more aware of those moments again. I stop and listen for the voice inside that tells me where the next minute of joy is going to come from. I have readjusted my vision of the world to focus first and foremost on that which is beautiful and only secondarily that which is difficult or dark. And I am taking the time to appreciate that which I already have before I start working towards that which I want to achieve now. It is paying off already: I feel more energetic than I have in a long time. And a laughed out loud several times this past week.

Yesterday I drew the Angelic Messengers Card JOY. And as I read it something else came to my awareness: by appreciating the simple pleasures in our lives we are not only helping ourselves by getting connected and feeling happy. We are also focusing our gratitude and joy onto those moments that support and create these simple pleasures: the tea fields or herbal gardens that provide for the tea in our cup, to soil that nourishes the flowers in backyard, the artist who drew the beautiful image that thrills our heart. And in doing so we are healing the world as much as we are healing ourselves. We send loving energy, support, and hope out there. So our simple pleasure becomes part of the healing energy of the Universe. If nothing else, then that is a good enough reason to indulge in those Simple Pleasures daily.

Enjoy the scents, sights, and sensations of spring.