Preamble: I'm a really happy person. It's partly just how I am, and partly because I work on it all of the time. I'm regularly told when people notice this, and I'm always kind of stuck for what to say - part of me wants to totally share my heart and sit down and talk for days about happiness, and another part of me recognizes that that might not be completely appropriate in the moment. So this seems like as good a venue as any to share a bit of myself.
I try to walk through this world with my eyes and heart open to all of the loveliness that there is; in other words, taking delight in as much as I can. There are a few things that are a guaranteed delight to just about anyone, which is why they're clichés - sunsets, baby smiles, rainbows, and the like. (There's a reason why clichés are clichés, and for the record, I approve 100% of baby smiles.)
I think of delight being much the same as gratitude, I just think of it as a shallower, more sensory version. For example, when I walked back to the lake at sunset last week, I delighted in the sun on the ice, the gradations of colour in the sky, the freezing air in my lungs. At the same time, I felt a full-hearted sense of gratitude that I was given that moment in time to be there to appreciate it. That overwhelming sense of connection to this messy, beautiful, heartbreaking world is such a gift.
Like gratitude, which needs to be exercised, I think that there's a delight muscle which needs the same - the more you notice and appreciates those sensory experiences, the more things you'll find there are to notice. In fact, you'll find yourself looking for them. The best part of the process of noticing is to find those things that most especially make your heart swell. Not the things that you think you should love, but the things that you really, truly do.
For me (no surprise here), one visual delight is the shape of a fluffy-bottomed hen when it is pecking and holding this precise shape. Collecting a warm egg is another. And every. single. thing. about keeping bees. The scent, the hum, the colour of the comb and honey, the taste - sitting and watching them come and go on a sunny summer day will change you. (Feel free to pop over for your free therapy this summer.)
The icy blue-greys and winter light particular to this season in this part of the world - so, so lovely, and another delightful thing to appreciate.
And then there's baking bread, cooking a meal, knitting, splitting wood, gardening - doing all of these highly sensory things can drastically affect your mental state. Seriously - read this article about cooking classes as part of treatment for patients dealing with mental illness. Too much time in our own heads and thoughts, looking at screens rather than engaged with and connected to our bodies, surroundings, and other people can't be good for us. So here's my encouragement for you to do with as you will - do a yoga practice with an online video this weekend. (Or even better, attend a class!) Cut some forsythia, apple, or quince branches to bring inside - pop them in water and they'll bloom. Make soup, or go for a walk, play in the snow, hug your chickens, or do whatever gives you that sensory delight. Fly tying, running, swimming - whatever it is, make it a priority.
All of this to say that I am so very, very happy, content, glad, thankful, joyful and full of gratitude and appreciation that we get to live here at Wellington Farm, and that's part of what I want to share here. I also happen to think that delight is contagious, and I'm doing my best to spread it around.