Fleeting joys

One of the great remedies when you’re feeling lonely and a bit miserable is to relish the fleetings joys of life. It’s so easy to get into a pattern of misery and apathy when the whole world seems gloomy and everything in your life seems dull, dark or threatening. But noticing the tiny moments of delight in everyday things will lift you out of your gloom for a moment or two. The utter delight in daily beauty – sun lighting up flower petals; the physical satisfaction of a good stretch; the comedy of cats playing; the emotion of great music… So many, many things that cost nothing and are worth so much – gifts we ignore every day unless we look for them. Absorbed in something exquisitely lovely, charming, amusing or evocative, you are taken over by the moment – and you forget to feel lonely. There’s no room for misery when you are swamped with the joy of your world.

Joy is a fleeting emotion. You can’t hold on to it – it floods you for a while, then it ebbs. But every fleeting joy leaves the possibility for the next; it becomes a habit to look for these moments. As you get better at spotting the small delights, more of every day is filled with these fleeting moments of wonder and charm that make you smile, or laugh out loud – or bring you to tears. they remind you that life is good right now, right at this joyful minute. In these moments everything else fades, leaving you immersed in intense, wonderful feeling. Writer Herman Hesse puts it like this:

If a man ceases to take things for granted, he seeks eagerly and hopefully during the course of the day for moments of real life, the radiance of which makes him rejoice and obliterates the awareness of time and all thoughts on the meaning and purpose of everything… It is what the mystics call union with God.”

Waste as little time as humanly possible feeling unhappy. Life is short, and there’s so much jolly stuff going on around you. Concentrate on joy, and clear your life of everything that interferes with joy.

Here are a few of my fleeting joys.

• popping bubble wrap

• a smile from a stranger for no particular reason

• the chatter of a group of sparrows

• pressing ‘send’ with a piece of work minutes before the deadline

• shutting the front door after a long journey home 

• wild roses on an embankment glimpsed from the train

• sun and shadow on the hills

• getting into bed on a frozen night with the electric blanket toasty hot

• the end of Sibelius’s Symphony No.2

• jackdaws doing almost anything

• cats leaping at each other like hares

• indefinable colour of sunset between pink and blue

• clouds boiling in a blue sky

• the song of crickets in long grass

• a perfect breakfast   

• blossom against a blue sky

• producing a really good long loud fart (definitely only when alone!)

• aha! of realisation after thinking hard

• opening the door to a friendly face

• warming my bottom against the stove

• Elizabeth Schwarzkopf singing the 3rd of Strauss’s Four Last Songs

• the feeling of a hot shower on my skin

• buying my favourite flowers for myself

• getting a cheque through the post

• the Art deco  ‘cape’ of green and gold on a starling’s back and wings

• rain pattering on forest leaves

* doing a small kind thing

• a perfect thunderclap right overhead

• singing at the top of my voice to a favourite song

• a fit of giggles for no good reason

• a really, really good long stretch

Now – tell me about yours. 

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4 comments on “Fleeting joys

  1. furniture says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing

  2. rebecca says:

    a nice lunch with an old friend 🙂

    your list is lovely.

  3. […] One of the great remedies when you’re feeling lonely and a bit miserable is to relish the fleetings joys of life. It’s so easy to get into a pattern of misery and apathy when the whole world seems gloomy and everything in your life seems dull, dark or threatening. But noticing the tiny moments of delight in everyday things will lift you out of your gloom for a moment or two. The utter delight in daily beauty – sun lighting up flower petals; the physical satisfaction of a good stretch; the comedy of cats playing; the emotion of great music… So many, many things that cost nothing and are worth so much – gifts we ignore every day unless we look for them. Absorbed in something exquisitely lovely, charming, amusing or evocative, you are taken over by the moment – and you forget to feel lonely. There’s no room for misery when… read more […]

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