Last night my daughter and I worked on a craft project together and I did something I had never done before in all the years of our completing projects together… I lingered in the joy…for a long time.
As my children can attest, we have been ‘doing craft projects’ since the day they were old enough to stick a Cheerio onto a blob of glue. They shared a bedroom as children so we could have a separate room for crafting with a walk in closet that we all joked was better supplied than most pre-school classrooms. But even with my commitment to encouraging their creativity and my own self-satisfaction that was nurtured through seeing what new project I could muster up for us, I had never spent a long time lingering in the joy. There was clean up to do, of course. There was work I needed to get back to. There was dinner that needed to be made or some phone call that I would need to take, and the lingering would be short.
Last night was different. Last night, we spent a long time lingering…
We lingered as we were working, taking breaks every so often to acknowledge the work of our hands together and to sway to the background music. We lingered between each step to take in the beauty of creation. And we lingered for a long time after the project was complete to revel… to revel in her artwork, the design of how we framed her drawing, the joy we knew her grandmother would feel in receiving the gift, and even in the energy of relatives no longer with us on earth that were called present through this experience. And I absolutely lingered in the pride my daughter felt in the detail and creativity of her art.
Yes, this lingering felt amazing in the moment. As I sat there, I could feel joy welling up inside and I was completely present to the connection it was strengthening between my daughter and me in that moment – much the same way that you can feel a muscle strengthening when lifting heavy weights at the gym.
But the truly amazing thing is what I experienced upon rising, even after what turned out to be a restless night sleep. From the moment I opened my eyes, I felt the pulsations of joy luxuriating within me. Again, I gave myself permission to linger in the joy as I lay there for quite a while until I finally found my keyboard and began this writing.
What I most wanted to share, and the reason for abandoning all my other plans for what I would do upon rising this morning, is my profound understanding in this moment that if we want more joy in our lives, we can achieve it at any time by giving ourselves permission to linger in the feeling of joy. Joy is not a commodity that we buy again and again through new experiences. It is a feeling and the more we permit ourselves to experience and nurture the feeling, the more it will linger within us. The more we make our inner being a hospitable home for joy, the more it will find us and the longer it will stay.
So I invite you to find a reason to linger in joy. If you are not used to doing this, it may feel awkward at first and a few minutes may feel like a very long time. But trust this. Sit and smile. Sit with your eyes closed and be in the appreciation. Shower the moment, experience or connection with comments of joyful acknowledgement and just see what happens. Reveling in joy was a new skill for me and I had a great teacher. So if it is a new skill for you, just know that like learning to ride a bike, it can feel awkward at first, and then before you know it, it feels as exhilarating a soaring down the hill on a two wheeler.