V.A.C. #8- Make a list, check it more than twice

Good morning Travellers,

Oh, it is cold. So very cold suddenly…I awoke this morning bookended by pussy cats, that’s one on the left and one on the right, snuggled up to me in such a manner that I couldn’t have adjusted for my own comfort if I wanted to…but I find Joy in such moments, don’t you?

I think most of us awake in the mornings during the winter with dread, we dread going out into the bitter cold. And this time of year, there are so many things to do that require us to trudge through ice, sleet, snow, and near blizzard temperatures in order to be Merry. And what we all think is, AARGHhhhhhhh, enough!! Right? So I have a little exercise for you…

Since it’s abit later in the morning, you should tuck this away for tomorrow, because I think you need to start this when you open your eyes that day, set this activity as an intention…they say the attitude you begin your day with sets the tone for everything to come…

OH, before I forget, when you open the little door on our virtual Advent calendar today, there is a tiny little scroll, so tiny in fact that you can only make out one word at the top of the little list: JOY.

JOY is such a fabulous word isn’t it? Just the the simple monosyllabic sound of it…it can hold a lot of inflection for sarcasm as well and yet, it always sounds like a smile to me…and I’m not sure who a person has to petition for such a thing, but THIS SONG is the one I’d really like to hear more at Christmas. I actually remember so clearly, bouncing around my living room as a kid singing the words, “Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, Joy to you and me.” AND I’ve also convinced my dog Lou, that the verse is actually, “Joy to Lou and me…” whenever she seems abit forlorn. I mean how can you listen to this song and NOT be joyous…it’s like watching “ELF” and not laughing…who does that?

Today’s idea is very simple, and you can practice today by starting now, but really again, try it from the moment you wake up tomorrow. You’re gonna make a list of the Joy in your life…not like your kids, or your partner or your car or your sweater or your coffee …no, no, no….we’re talking about the feelings that make it good to be living your life and alive and a human blessed with five senses and a heart/soul/mind during this winter holiday season…that’s the Joy we’re looking for…

I’ll give you my morning examples. As I mentioned before, I awoke, with two kitties and the sensation of their little warm bodies pressed up to me in a rather chilly house was Joy. IF it makes you smile a little smile, that’s the joy we’re looking for…then I actually took a moment to feel how soft my flannel sheets are and how warm I was in bed, and took a little inhale/exhale moment and again, Joy.

In fact, let me just pause there, I find you want to do that little inhale/exhale when you sense the Joy, you want to breathe it in, let it permeate your little soul…and then exhale out some weariness…

When I get up I always put on a hoodie in the morning because old houses seem to have a permanent chill on their floors no matter how awesome the furnace may be…but I wear Birkenstocks barefoot in the house and when I took off my fuzzy socks and placed my feet into that cold leather, there was something kind of pleasing in the sensation, how cold they were and how warm my feet were, joy…

I let the dogs outside, and the air that rushed in was very chilly and invigorating, but when I close the door, we are warm inside, joy…Sometimes in the winter I’ll open windows just to briefly mix in some outdoor winter air because it’s a sort of joy to me as well…

The sensation of splashing cold water on my face first thing after I get up, though startling, also joy…the feeling of a clean mouth after brushing and flossing, joy….

And yes, I am serious here…the very tiny moments of this life, these good little things that we all just gloss over everyday, they are the reason we are here, our sentient-ness if you will…we are explorers everyday of our lives, gathering these tiny moments and yet, we forget them.

And I’m saying all this as a person who is not having an especially easy time this season…I’ll be doing okay and then not so okay…I’ll feel sad or lonely, find myself crying for various reasons, but then I tell myself there is something you are learning here and it’s important that we don’t skip ahead because along the way, in all our journeys, there is JOY. We have to not lose sight of that…

SO, however you want to record these little observations, I want you to do that, get out a pen and paper, or use a Note app on your phone, but take the time and jot down your Joy. And then before you go to bed, read the list out loud. If you have a partner, both do this little exercise and then read them to each other. Share your Joy. Take it in, keep the list somewhere you can find it easily and when the darker recesses  of the holidays find you, whip it out and read it out loud again…if I can find my way through this, everyone else can too!!

AND if all this fails, try playing THIS SONG, which is in ELF..or any song that makes you  grin, sing and dance about your living room like a fool…

Or maybe some drive by Christmas lights..JOY!!


If you have anything joyful you’d like to share, please leave a comment below or contact me at acpoe17@gmail.com.


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