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The Joy of Sharing Small Joys.
Just a little scone on the beach.
I’ve written about small joys before. It’s a practice that I began a while back when I was really sick and struggling to see any good in my long, miserable days.
Over the last year or so, I’ve also been part of a weekly celebration of small joys. It’s a Friday tradition started by Suleika Jaouad of Isolation Journals as a way to share something good when it feels like life is anything but.
It’s become part of my weekly routine and something that I really look forward to. I put a lot of thought into what my joy is every week and love not only sharing, but even better, seeing what everyone else has to share in the community chat.
It’s a ritual that has had an unexpected consequence for me, I’ve started actively looking for more small joys all week long. And because of that, I’m more aware of how many there really are. I guess that’s probably the whole point after all, but it wasn’t something that I was expecting.
I’ve always taken issue with the gratitude movement as a whole because in my experience, it’s never helped me feel any better to try to be grateful or even just to see the good, because all I’ve ever felt is guilt.
Just trying to focus on the very basics of having a roof over my head and food to eat (which are always the first thing that anyone recommends when suggesting cultivating a life of gratitude) immediately brings up feelings of guilt and shame because there are so many people in this world who don’t have either one of those things. What the fuck makes me so special? Why do I get those things when they don’t? I shouldn’t be feeling depressed and sorry for myself about my health when so many others peoples’ circumstances are so much worse.
So, when people talk about having a grateful heart, I cringe and stop listening. No one should be made to feel guilty or ashamed of their feelings around their unfortunate circumstances.
But this practice, this is much more my speed, looking for just one little, good thing. Focusing on how wonderful that little thing is makes all the bad stuff kind of blur together in the background like a focused photo (see the yummy scone above).
I spontaneously shared this Friday ritual with some of the closest people in my life this week, and I’m so grateful that it did.
I’ve been struggling for a while to find ways to connect with my grown son and daughter-in-law who live far away and are busy living their adult lives. I thought that maybe I could get some conversation started by sending this out in our family group text (it sincerely sees so little action). So, I shot out a group text to my partner, my son and daughter-in-law and my youngest kiddo with the above picture and the caption saying simply: “My small joy for the week was a GF scone at the beach. What was yours?”
Then I thought, why stop with the four of them? So, I also sent out the same text to some of the other closest people in my life and what I got back was absolute, pure joy.
My 89-year-old grandmother told me about visiting the local fair this week to see Clint Black and Styx in concert. And she sent me a picture of her on her new scooter, with a cowboy hat on.
My Mum, who rescues, cares for and helps to find homes for cats was happy to send off an adorable kitten to his new forever home and sent me the link to the youtube video that she had made to help him find his adoptive family.
My longest childhood friend shared her joy in her cat letting her rub her belly, which never typically happens, because she is “normally all tooth and claw”.
Another friend told me that she had just been visiting a BFF that she doesn’t get to see often enough.
And yet another friend shared that her small joy was actually my text message (which felt like she hugged me from afar).
And in the afternoon, I got the reply to the message that started it all, my son shared that his was getting off work before 3:30 on a Friday (something that almost never happens). It didn’t start a long conversation, but it made me feel connected to him in a way that I’ve been missing.
I don’t want to put all of my people on blast by sharing our private messages, but I had to share a little because it warmed my heart, gave me so much joy and helped me feel more connected to the people that I love who are far away. And I want to hear more, so please share your small joy for the week in the comments.
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