Bursts of Delight
Walking through the park the other morning, on the way to my office,
I came upon a very small dog who turned out to be an enchantress. Minding
my own business, looking at all the trees I pass each morning, I suddenly
noticed something out of the corner of my eye. I looked down and this
small dog was running toward me, her whole body wiggling and wriggling
with anticipation, her tail wagging furiously. I had never met her before
and found myself filled with a warm glow as she ran up to me to say hello.
What captivated me was her total abandon, her complete openness, and
her utter delight at encountering a new person. Her human companion said
that this little dog just loves people and can’t wait to say hello
to everyone she passes.
As they moved on, I felt the afterglow of an unexpected and delicious
encounter. It was brief – only a moment or two – but it planted
a smile on my face that lasted much longer. As I remember that wriggling
mass of fur right now, the smile returns, and I am reminded of all the
small, seemingly-inconsequential, moments that add up to create a store
of delight to which I can return in my imagination.
The experience got me to thinking of the gift that these moments represent.
It is a gift that reminds us that there are many things in the world
that are friendly, beautiful, fun, and delicious. During these times
when we hear so much bad news, and constantly learn of the next awful
thing humans are doing to one another and the planet, it’s useful
to remember that these reports represent only half the picture. There
is this other side of things, the aspects of our lives that reflect the
good things around us. The trick is to consciously register these good
For this week’s experiment, I invite you to pay attention to the
unexpected moments when you find yourself smiling or laughing at someone
or something that pops up in your experience that you didn’t anticipate.
These don’t have to be dramatic or especially big experiences.
The key is to pay attention to what puts a smile on your face or warms
your heart and then to take some time to linger with the experience,
to savor it, to really let it in. We can, at times, take the good stuff
for granted, and this experiment offers an opportunity to acknowledge
how important these good moments are to our ongoing sense of well-being.
Enjoy honoring these moments of delight, small or large, and the response
you have in your body-mind being. Then, later, enjoy remembering them
when you need a dose of good psychological food.
Here for Other Weeks in This Series: