||Bubbles of Delight
Walking across Central Park the other morning, I found myself chanting in my head – singing a sacred song that had taken up residence in the front of my mind that morning. As I passed through a small tunnel I encounter each morning, I noticed a young man standing off to the side near the entrance to the tunnel. As I passed, I looked at him. His eyes were closed and he suddenly began to sing out loud. He was in his own kind of ecstasy, not bothering to notice whether anyone was around. What touched me was his utter delight at breaking forth into song in a tunnel where his voice was amplified in a kind of surround sound. The thing that tickled my own delight is how determinedly off-key he was. Each note had its own pitch, and found its own place in his song. As I walked through the tunnel, surrounded by the sound of his energetic and sincere singing, I chuckled to myself at the fun of encountering someone who’s delight couldn’t be held back. His expression was so heartfelt and fully expressed that it didn’t matter at all that he couldn’t carry a tune. It was his earnest engagement in, and enjoyment of, the singing that touched me.
As I walked along, the encounter got me to thinking about the importance of delight in our lives, and the gift of becoming lost in an experience that fills us up with a sense of complete satisfaction and self-expression. I’ve written before about how much it touches me when I see anyone – entertainer, teacher, traffic officer, whomever – giving his or her all to self-expression. I admire people who allow themselves to be fully who they are, and to express themselves without reservation. The delight that comes with these moments is fundamentally nourishing and a gift to experience even second-hand, as I did in the tunnel that morning.
For this week’s experiment, I invite you to pay attention to sources of delight in your life and, especially, to those moments when you feel like bursting forth in song, or dance, or any other kind of self-expression that moves through you. Notice what happens when you allow the energy of that burst to arise and move through you without reservation and without hesitation. One of my challenges to myself with this experiment is to allow myself to shift from walking to skipping when the beauty of the park fills me to the point of overflowing. There are times I simply want to jump in the air with the gratitude and delight I feel being among the trees on the way to work in the morning. I allow myself to spontaneously hug trees along the way, but to jump or skip is a bit more “out there”, and I find myself holding back from that particular urge.
As with all the experiments, allow this one to bring into your awareness moments of choice. While it’s not always appropriate to enact our impulses, notice what happens if you imagine yourself doing what wants to burst from you in moments of elation, ecstasy, delight, or just plain fun. Bringing an impulse into conscious awareness and then imagining actually doing it will offer some of the delicious experience the young man was having in that tunnel singing his heart out that morning. The key here is to be aware of the opportunity to experience delight and to give it some kind of opening in your being – whether actual or imagined. Fortunately, the brain responds to imagined experience in ways similar to how it does with lived experience, so you can have the fun of delight even if no one has any idea you’re doing so!
Also, as with all the experiments, allow curiosity to be your companion, and set aside judgment for now. Self-consciousness keeps many of us from fully experiencing the delicious moments in our lives. Notice where you may stop yourself from these moments and see if there’s a way you can give yourself at least an imagined experience, if not a lived one.