Finding joy and magic isn't always easy. Sometimes, it's particularly hard. Especially on days you feel broken or just plain...joyless.
There are days that are unrelenting in their need for my attention. To do lists that need to be finished. Work, chores, pets, family, unexpected emergencies - both big and small - that all seem to be a priority over finding my joy that day.
I get caught up in these other moments and I easily forget to look for joy. I become angry. I become resentful and frustrated. I start thinking about how I never get to just do what I want; someone or something always seems to need my attention.
"My time slips away so fast, I barely have time to get my actual work done, how am I supposed to have any time to look for joy," I angrily think.
Right then. That's when I realize I'm doing it. The thing that sucks the joy from me the most. I'm thinking. I'm in my head. My thoughts telling me, screaming at me, all the negatives.
"You don't deserve this."
"You are going to fail again."
"You are never going to have enough, you need to get a real job."
"You are always going to struggle."
"You are never going to have true peace."
"Shame on you, you're not being grateful enough."
"How dare you complain, do you know the struggles that other people are going through?"
"Who do you think you are to want more? You are selfish."
That's when I know I need to slow down. No matter what. I need to stop thinking. I need to look for the joy while I am doing the things I need to do.
We can't make joy a 'to-do", we have to find joy during the 'to-dos' of life.
How do I stop my brain spiral when I recognize it? This is what I do: I take a deep breath and say, "Nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so."
I choose my heart over my brain. I choose to be present and look for the moments of joy while I'm doing everything else that needs to get done.
When I do that? The magic shows up.
This morning, I had to walk my new, very energetic puppy, Jimmy. Walking Jimmy was a to-do.
I chose to do it mindfully and to look for joy. As we were walking, I heard a horse make that horse noise they do with their lips (what do you call that noise?) and he walked over to us. The horse wanted to see Jimmy. Jimmy barked, but then calmed down when he realized the horse was just saying hello - they stared at each other, a beautiful silent greeting. I saw a magic meeting.
We continued on. Each year, my neighbor plants a huge row of wildflowers in front of her house. She leaves scissors at her mailbox for neighbors to cut fresh flowers. Today I decided to do that. I noticed my magical neighbors.
I got home and decided it would be lovely to take a moment and cut some zinnias from my flower garden to make a bigger bouquet. Last year, my first flower garden had not done so well. But I learned and this year, I got it right. My zinnias give me so much joy each morning as drink coffee and watch the dragonflies and butterflies enjoy them.
It took a year and a half to learn from my garden mistakes. But today? They gave me magic a magical bouquet.
Life is never going to be perfect. As a matter of fact, I think life in general is hard - it is for me anyways.
I'm learning, and continually relearning that my joyful, magical life is always right there waiting for me. I just need to take the time to notice it.
When I slow down, turn off my brain, focus on my heart, and look for joy, I get to see, I get to feel, the very magical life I have had all along.