dancersI am very pleased to be working on the Enjoying Life section of the self-caring pillar of The Foundations of Well-Being program this week.

What do you enjoy? Even the little things that add up:

  • Beautiful sunsets?
  • Your pet?
  • A friend’s smile?
  • Finishing the dishes?
  • Helping someone?
  • Learning?
  • Chocolate?
  • Soft pillow?
  • Flipping a switch to bring light to a dark room?
  • A flower?
  • Children laughing?
  • Water?
  • A song?
  • Talking with a friend?
  • Solving that troublesome physics problem?

Enjoyment” is defined as pleasures of the senses: sense of interest, such as learning about a new thing, and the sense of delight – delighting in or finding pleasure in something. Also enjoying things has a capacity to nourish us – an aspect of nourishing us soothing our frazzled nerves.

Why is this an aspect of self-caring? Enjoyable experiences:

  • make life worth living – they motivate us to keep on going.
  • calm and nourish the body.
  • help us recover from stress or being emotionally upset. One way to come out of a stressful experience is to motivate yourself – such as the enjoyment we receive from exercise.

What gets in your way of enjoying life? Specific blocks to enjoying life can be:

  • Thinking you don’t deserve to enjoy life.
  • Focusing on how many people are suffering around the world.
  • Co-suffering when a loved one is suffering physically or emotionally (Your not enjoying life does not make their suffering any easier, nor does your enjoyment make theirs any worse.)
  • Fearing you’ll lose your edge or lower your guard.

Some of the general blocks to enjoying life are:

  • Not noticing what’s enjoyable – as we are caught up on the busyness of life – such as we turn the tap on warm soothing water appears at the sink or in the shower.
  • Not feeling anything when you do notice things – as at times we numb ourselves in order to avoid emotional pain or suffering, this practice affects our ability to feel pleasant experiences too.
  • Not realizing when you do feel something good – we don’t always take the time to stop and savor life.

What can you do to enjoy life more? Have more experiences that are enjoyable:

Notice the experiences you are having that are pleasurable– at the present moment in whatever you are doing or looking out the window and seeing beautiful nature.

Create them; look for what is good and help them become good experiences.

Internalize these good experiences: Help them to last and to be felt in your body. Sense and intend that they’re sinking in – absorb them into yourself so that they can become resources inside that you can take with you.

What little things could you do?

  • Upon waking, think of something you’re glad about.
  • Take an extra minute with your morning coffee.
  • Pause to appreciate someone you live with.
  • Find something beautiful while driving.
  • Really savor an apple.
  • Appreciate something good about yourself.

What are the longings in your heart? If they were more present in your mind, would it help you? Enjoyable experiences grow the inner strengths that will help fulfill the longings in your heart.

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize that they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

“The days that make us happy, make us wise.” –John Masefield

I used to think the brain was the most important organ.  Then I thought, look what’s telling me that.