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This Month's Gift


It’s a new year.  And for many, a time for resolutions - aargh!  (Remember the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher?  “Wah wah wah wah wah.”)  Sure, I plan to improve business, increase health and strength, enhance spiritual practice, augment community service, connect more with friends, deepen love in all my relations… and I know plenty of others with similar intentions.  But before jumping to add yet another process for growth and development, I’m hearing something else beckon.  Sometimes it whispers, “Hey!  Over here…;” other times, it’s bold, louder, in my face:  “Yo, You.  Wake up.”

Are we having fun yet?

We often think of joy as something that happens to us – if we’re lucky, in love, if our stars are aligned…  But doesn’t that attitude leave us as victims of circumstance, our good moods and sense of well being dependent on the stock market, the world political stage, a promotion, our partner’s or kids’ acknowledgment, how many slices of bread were left for breakfast?  What if instead we just decided to experience joy?   What would it take to bring even a smidgeon of conscious intention to this possibility?  Because that’s all it really takes.  A split-second choice to reroute our habits of pessimism, dejection, and frustration and truly revel in this moment.  A split-second choice, made over and over and over again…

I’ll give you one seemingly “inconsequential” example.  Recently, I’ve noticed I’ve gotten pretty cranky doing housework.  Specifically, I don’t want to do the dishes!  My argument:  I’ve got better things to do with my time!  Now, mind you, I like to live in an orderly house.  So what are my options?  Hire a dishwasher?  Yes, I could do that.  Or, I could figure out how to transform this mundane but essential task.

I’ve started singing.  Loud.  Operatic.  Funk.  Mantras.  Silly stuff I make up on the spot about suds or how much I’d rather be doing something else.  What does this do?  Gives me time to sing (which I love).  Refocuses my mind so that I’m enjoying those 15 minutes instead of bellyaching my way through them.  Puts me in a good mood.  Exercises my lungs.  Brings more oxygen to my brain.  Keeps the kitchen clean.  Generates energy and enthusiasm for the whole day…

So, for 15 minutes a day, I’m singing instead of doing dishes.  Yes, the dishes are getting done, but I’m singing.  15 minutes a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year = 91 hours.  That’s more than 2 weeks vacation!  Wow!  What if I added the dusting and laundry?  And accounting?!!! 

You do the math.  What niggle-y task, tough-to-stick-with resolution, new business idea, scary conversation, exciting but sometimes overwhelming opportunity could you renovate with a decision to be happy?

It’s a new year.  Why not plan to feel joy?


© Susan Drouilhet 2008