Delight and Joy

delight, elaina avalos, the book of delights, ross gay

I have always been really good at finding joy in the little, simple things in life. When I was living in the desert of California, I read a book called One Thousand Gifts* by Ann Voskamp. She challenged readers to write down all of the big and small gifts you run into throughout your day. I started doing just that. And on the original version of this blog, I created a page where I shared these gifts as I encountered them.

I got out of the habit of doing this a few years ago. I know exactly when it happened. But that’s another story. I miss the me that is easily entertained {haha}, can find joy in random silly things, and finds peace from a hike in the woods or stopping long enough to listen to the wind blowing through pine trees. Recently, I caught an episode of This American Life on my phone. It was called The Show of Delights. It hit the spot. I literally needed to listen to that particular show.

The show was entirely about delight. And as they say in their intro, that’s a radical thing to talk about in these dark times. I smiled the whole way to work listening to the stories shared. I loved the episode so much, I listened to it twice. If you enjoy podcasts, I highly recommend This American Life, if you don’t have an NPR station locally that plays it. But I digress.

In “Act One,” Ross Gay, a poet, shares a few of the things he finds delight in. It all started with him recording whatever random delight he experienced each day, in his journal. The journal turned into “essayettes” that became The Book of Delight. One of the stories he shared was about the day he carried a tomato seedling through the airport and onto a flight. It was a sweet story that kept me smiling throughout. After listening to Ross talk about delight – and the other stories – including an adorable one about a four-year old boy riding the bus for the first time, I knew it was time to revive some of the delight & joy that used to be so easy for me to see and find.

joy, delight, elaina avalos

I ordered a journal that’s the perfect size to slip into my purse & take with me wherever I go. I made a commitment to myself that I would work harder at finding and recognizing the little flashes of delight that come across my path. Gay mentions within the podcast that essentially – acknowledging the delight – ensures you continue to see it. I’m out of practice and atrophied in that area. I hate admitting that. But it’s true. Life doesn’t look how I expected it to look. Unfortunately, for far too long, the pain of that has stuck around. Which also means that I haven’t been seeing these pops and flashes of delight that are all around us, all of the time.

So – that means I’m going to practice. If you could use a little more positivity in your life, especially in these dark times, a gratitude or delight journal just might be the thing for you, too. The more we look for it, the more we’ll see it. Getting back as much delight and joy in my life as possible, is exactly what I need. If you want to join me, let me know! I’d love to have some folks join me. I’ll share here as often as I can.

What’s one thing around you that brings you joy or delight, that other people might not notice?

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