Notables such as Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project), Tal Ben Shahar ( Happier), Martin Seligman (Flourish), Marcy Shimoff (Happy For No Reason), et al have all indicated in their studies on happiness that it is the little things that lead to more lasting happiness than the big things. While that truth applies to any societal condition, it may be even more meaningful during this current difficult and stressful time. I believe we are all looking for some little joys to lift our spirits. Below is a sampling of my simple pleasures. Perhaps they will give you some ideas for yourself.
Lying on our backs on a summer day looking up at the drifting clouds
Playing in the undeveloped fields behind our houses. We’d always see if we could cross a brook without getting our shoes wet or falling in. The slippery rocks were our stepping stones.
Drinking water from the garden hose on hot days.
Building snow forts in winter.
Lying on my back in the snow at night, looking up at the stars trying to identify constellations.
The Halloween parade through the main street of town sporting our most original costumes.
Peonies, Lilies of the Valley, Buttercups, Indian Paint Brushes, Bluebells, Daisies seem to be connected to happy, carefree childhood days. Whenever they come to mind, I smile and feel joy.
Sitting on a screened porch on a rainy summer day.
Smelling the scent of the first bloom of lilacs.
Eating pancakes with the year’s new offering of maple syrup
Reading the entire set of Narnia books with my daughter.
Hopping on the subway and exploring places I hadn’t been to.
Baking bread from scratch. No bread makers ever.
Day trips which often included going to a musical theatre performance.
Giving a workshop on happiness to the grade 6 classes in a private school.
Being at a Blue Jays game with my granddaughter as she collected “ball park air” in an empty bag to bring home to her brother. Makes me chuckle every time I think of it.
Telling stories to my grandson over the phone while he ate lunch during his toddler years.
The aroma of chocolate chip cookies baking. Then eating one as they came out of the oven.
My teaching assistant unexpectedly bringing me champagne truffles. Soooo good.
Getting to sit in the broadcast booth during a Blue Jays game. This has a long wonderful story to go with it.
Spending time with my daughter’s dog. I’ve anointed him as my therapy dog. Very affectionate with a touch of scampiness.
Meeting a friend for coffee and doing crossword puzzles together.
These are just a smattering of my little joys. What are yours? What simple pleasures in your life you can recall and savor that will bring a few moments, or longer, of happiness? These simple pleasures can have some antidotal effects during difficult times.
Comments are welcome.
Teddy II is a smallish, honey-colored stuffed bear who resides at one end of my sofa. His previous home was of course, at Lemon & Lavender. He was no doubt infused with some of the fairy dust which would account for his unique, enchanting nature. We want you to know up front that Teddy II is NOT a new-age Winnie the Pooh knock-off. Any resemblance to Pooh and friends is purely coincidental or a figment of the imagination. Teddy II is his own bear with his own diverse, lovable friend group.
How did such an engaging little bear come by such an uninspired name, one might ask? When my daughter was born, more years ago than I care to specify, a dear friend came to visit. She brought a cute little pink stuffed bear. This bear over the years was always referred to as Teddy. In fact, Teddy still lives with my daughter and granddaughter. There was never any thought to name him anything else.
When I discovered the new teddy and brought him home, I contemplated what his perfect name might be. There was a myriad of viable options. When all was listed and done, Teddy II was the only name that stuck.
Before moving on, Teddy II insisted I give a shout out to some of his besties. Here’s to:
Hermione, the very shy, yet pleasant, Hedgehog, is a nocturnal creature. Although she spends her days curled up in a ball, she always shows up when it matters.
Sammy the Squirrel is also known as Mr. Sociable. There are those, however, who refer to him as Sammy Snooper Squirrel. He has the pulse of everything going on throughout the environs.
Millicent Moose is very near sighted, but has exceptional senses of hearing and smell. Millie is generally very peaceful, but you sure don’t want to cross her.
Percival Possum joined the friend group upon his arrival from Australia. One day we hope to hear the amazing tale of his journey.
Winnie the Wild Turkey is quite extraordinary. She is curious, inquisitive, a problem solver, and good at geography.
Last, but certainly far from least, is Sebastian and Stella Skunk. This percipient pair over time evolved into the spiritual leaders of the group.
Perhaps we may become privy to the group dynamics and individual stories of this unusual collection of critters. I suppose that will all depend on whether Teddy II chooses to spill the tea.
Comments are welcome.
Hello, again, friend. I suspect I may be trying your patience going on and on with the same old saw. If you’ll hang in with me just one more time, I’d be most appreciative. The search, like Robert Frost’s definition of life, “It goes on.” I explored one last avenue of possibility, the Lemon & Lavender boutique. As I’ve written many times, it is my go to source for lifting my spirits. It’s all about the fairy dust in that store. You’d think a muse might enjoy spending time in such an atmosphere. I figured it was worth a shot. If nothing else I would feel good getting a dose of that fairy dust. That’s how it went. Happy spirits, no muse.
Now what? Okay. I’ve yet to try a magic 8 Ball and navel gazing. Leave no stone unturned, I say. Although muses are not known to be mucking around under stones, you know what I mean. Best I take a break here. You can, too. Be back shortly.
I’m back. I hope you are, too. For the past few weeks I have been desperate for Thalia and Calliope, in particular, to come to my rescue. I believed I could not get going again without their help. They did inspire me a few years ago when I needed it. Maybe that was just a one off.
Motivation and inspiration had abandoned me along with my sedated imagination and creativity. I didn’t believe I had what it takes to emerge from this stupor on my own. Then I discovered that what I needed was sitting near by on my sofa.
Here's the thing. Inspiration, ideas may come and go. Not unlike other aspects of our beingness. Sometimes we are happy and feeling good. Sometimes we may be in a funk and on the down side of the spectrum. It’s all part of our humanity. The point is to be able to flow with what we are experiencing, remembering that all things eventually come to pass, not to last. That can be easy to lose sight of when we are in the midst of a downward spiral.
Whether the muses decide to assist me or not, that’s their business. No point waiting around any longer to see if they decide to show up. It’s time to use what I have and do what I can. What I have, as mentioned above, is sitting on my sofa. Will tell you all about it next time.
Thanks for listening. Thanks for being my friend. Ciao.
Hello, again, friend. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit down and lend me your ears. I tried to be proactive about this muse thing. I checked Craig’s List, Ebay, Kajiji, the classifieds, temp agencies, mediums, et al. Nada. It was exhausting and disappointing. Nonetheless, I refused to give up, because you never know. At that point it seemed like a good idea to push the pause button, take a breath, take a walk, do something different for awhile. After all, experts say that when stuck or overwhelmed, taking a break , moving, doing something different creates an internal space allowing new possibilities to emerge.
I need to circle back to why I got into this not-for-profit blog business. It was about having too much time on my hands and nothing productive to do. Fast forward to the present and it’s déjà vu all over again. Right, Yogi? Here I am with too much time on my hands and nothing productive to do. Are you listening, muses? In case you didn’t get it, this is an S.O.S.
Back to the first time around. I’ve written about the dearth of hobbies in my life. I’ve never quite latched onto anything for any sustained length of time. Nagging at me from the recesses of my mind are the words of many friends, “You should write a children’s book.” You can guess what I do with anything that begins “you should.” Yet, those words are haunting me.
In my current desperation for some creative endeavor, I’ve toyed with that notion. As I’ve mused (no pun intended) about the possibility, I still come up empty. That’s why I have put the call out for some muse to come to my rescue and help me figure out the best writing path to take.
Ok. Just one more thing for today. Feel free to take a moment to refresh your beverage. When I began telling you my woes, I sat down with a mug of Bengal spice tea. I’ve continued to drink that tea as I write. Hmmm. Could there be something to that? More likely grasping at anything that resembles a straw. Me thinks the truth is in the initials of the Bengal Spice tea – B.S.
Well, friend, I’ve kept you long enough. Probably too long. Let’s see what happens next week. Thanks again for listening.
Comments are welcomed.
Here’s the thing. I’ve never been one to journal. Do not find it helpful to write down my inner most anythings. What helps me most is talking with a friend. Today you are my friend. I feel like I’ve tumbled down some rabbit hole. Thank you, Covid. During the tumbling I seem to have lost motivation, inspiration and landed in inertia. It’s a mucky, yucky place to find one’s self. Yet, that’s where I am . My imagination and creativity seem to be anaesthetized. Oh, I do hope they come out of it soon. It’s not much fun without them.
I think a muse is in order, but where or how do you order one? There’s no listing on Amazon. That was a bubble burster. Shocking. Not everything you could possibly want can be found on Amazon. What’s your excuse Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy for this grievous omission? As if they’d ever do anything about it. Hah!
You think Alexa might have some insider info on finding muses? Doubtful. I don’t think her reach is that wide.
Seriously, now. Have you ever seen any ads or postings on social media for a muse? You’d think someone out there in the world wide web and beyond knows how to acquire a muse. I get that muses come and muses go. Still, I am good with a short term arrangement. You know, just until my imagination and creativity show signs of life again. Is that asking too much?
I can’t believe the pandemic has scared them off. After all, they really are immune to such things. Now I truly regret not asking Santa for a muse. If he came through, I would have written a wonderful story about that jolly fat man.
I suppose I’ve talked your ear off by now. Hopefully you’ll be around next week so I can share what transpires, or doesn’t, in the coming days. If you get wind of an available muse, please get in touch. Thanks for listening. BTW, Happy New Year