Monthly Archives: June 2019

Anticipatory Joy

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According to this video, we’re happiest when we have something to look forward to each day:  whether it be a vacation or a new exercise class you’re trying with a friend…

What do you look forward to today?

Tomorrow?

For me, after spending hours of what seemed like days on the internet looking for places to live (within my limited budget) by the latest job I’ve chosen, Sunday was such a day of anticipated joy.

Sunday came around and I found myself driving through the winding countryside past many parked cars by cherry farms where the city people had come for the weekend to pick the cherries. I was surprised by the crowd the day of sunlight in the cherry farms brought.

But I wasn’t headed to a cherry farm. I was headed to a mini yoga-meditation retreat at a therapeutic horse ranch!  I spent the day with almost a dozen horses and at least twenty fellow yogis/ horse lovers. We watched in awe as the owner of the ranch struck her meditation bowl and it chimed to signal for the horses to join us.

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They heard the chime and they came ambling and running down a hill into the arena where they basked in the attention of their adoring fans. We spent about an hour in the arena as the horses, yoga instructor and the shade of the trees competed for our attention. Then we had breakfast and gathered in a white tent sitting on cushions where we were led in Kundalini meditation with the horses  making horse sounds outside of the tent. Afterwards, we were carted, walked or drove up a hill past a broken windmill and through the gates of a lovely hammock and garden. We gathered in a small studio to be immersed in an hour of a live sound bath of poetic summer solstice themed mantra, crystal singing bowls, gongs, triangles, didgeridoo, rain stick, ocean drum and so many instruments and sounds! Then, it was back down the hill for a catered luncheon with the horses.

For me aside from watching the birds and horses interact, and listening to the talented hosts of the event, one of the most memorable things were the stories and conversations with people. We were informed that these horses were trained therapy horses, so I took notice when the horses wandered to a mother in mourning for her only child. There were many people there in the fields of education, social work and therapy, which I found interesting. I listened raptly at the story of the birth of the last foal on the ranch. There was also the story of a group of former human traffic victims whom had camped and saw life outside a city with the horses for the first time. And the story of how the owners of the ranch had been told they would never be sold the property and then the serendipitous meeting of a stranger at a yard sale who offered them $400,000 for another property nearby so that they could offer their landlord the money to buy the ranch. There were so many friends and strangers whom I met that day out in the countryside… I returned refreshed ready for bends in my road because they remind me of that time in the countryside.

 

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Gratitude for Silence, Work, Life, Rhythms and Reading

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It’s Tuesday sitting in a house devoid of human voices. There’s only the sound of ticking clocks in various room and humming appliances in the kitchen. I hear my coffee maker. A single drip of coffee and then silence again. I hear the sound of chirping birds and a passing airplane coming from the outside. It’s the first time I’ve heard these sounds in days even though I’ve been sitting here at this computer typing away at my ambitions all of this time for what seems like days.

Yesterday, I told a friend of mine about one of my latest ambitions. He said, “I’m sorry to say it’s not going to work out.”

I was shocked to hear the words come from the mouth of a friend rather than a parent. To me, it’s a parent’s “job” to be discouraging of ambition because they want you to be safe, but I see no place for a friend to do this. Friends are your peers and they cheer you on. Yes, both generalizations, I know. So, as I do when things bother me, I began to read the research to satisfy my curiosity. How was it that this friend was so lucky as to have a more limited ambitious nature than I do? To be still and content and the same age as me?

This Time article theorizes that perhaps ambition is a genetic trait. It also theorizes that ambition is cultural and driven by anxiety. It provides the example of students in the US with competitive behaviors; and thus, more ambitious than non-competing students in Papua New Guinea where it is necessary to work as a team on the farm. It goes on to generalize that many people living in lower socioeconomic status feel hopeless whereas the wealthy are living in luxury, so it is generally the middle class citizens whom tend to be ambitious because they work to earn more and keep from losing their status.

My conclusion? Here is a house of silent rhythms. Everyone is off to work. Ambition or no ambition, life is still work, but only a few have the privilege to be able to hear (or feel…as some people are deaf) the silent rhythms… The occasional drip from the faucet of the kitchen sink… The passing vehicles on the road outside. Even one’s own breath. The pigeon nesting in the northern tree… The raven’s call from the southwestern rooftop. Whatever valley or mountain we stand on, work and sleep on… Life is passing. Energy comes and goes. Enjoy it as you are. Let it lift the corners of your mouth. Let it moisten your eyes and expand your ribs as your ribs rise and fall with the rhythm.

I hope you will take the time each day to feel and be grateful for little things even if you have a long list of to-do’s. If you’re even more fortunate, I hope you find the time to get some reading done and recommend some books to me. One of the latest books I’ve enjoyed is:

04cc3eca8b2a9c2831ff755129df0124fdf93b17  Reading about happiness and the happiest place on earth makes one feel their happiness! I highly recommend the audio version if you want to hear the charming way all of the Danish words are pronounced, but the print version has a lot of interesting infographics on random things like how many fireplaces Danish homes have in comparison to the UK and how many times in Denmark has been voted “happiest country”.

I could go on with listing excellent books, but the time has come for me to attend to tasks on the outside of the house. I must remember to stop and feel the energy and listen to it today because I am grateful for those moments of silence and wish you many such moments!