Karen James, on Always Learning, March 2018, about attaching her attention to things that have the potential to bring her joy:

When things were a bit more difficult (we had moved, my dad died, Doug's new job wasn't going well, my mom's health was deteriorating, I was having some minor health issues myself) I would make sure to notice the moments in each day that were easier and simply beautiful even if there were only a few. In those easier moments I would say "thank you," sometimes aloud. In the simply beautiful moments I would say something to acknowledge the beauty. "This feels so good," was something I said (still say) a lot, again, sometimes aloud as both Doug and Ethan would confirm. 😉

For example, if I was driving to the grocery store and I happened to notice how beautiful the clouds looked, I'd linger a moment longer to notice the relief I felt from simply observing that beautiful sky, and the feeling of joy that I could draw from that humble observation. It sounds kinda corny as I type this, but it was/is a really powerful tool for me. Noticing ease, noticing beauty and spending a moment to reflect on how good that can feel when I acknowledge it was/is a bit like remembering to breathe.

Another thing I do regularly is seek out activities that have the potential to bring me joy. For me, that's being with my family, being in nature, going on mini adventures, and making things. Going on mini adventures is especially effective at giving me a boost. Maybe that means going to a place close to home that I've never been before, or going at a time of day I've never been before. It could mean giving myself a silly challenge like finding as many round things as I can find around the house and taking pictures of them. Maybe I'll paint a few rocks and sneakily leave them for others to find. Being quietly playful and simply adventurous brings me a great deal of joy.

Tap in to the things that bring *you* joy and find ways to do more of them. Simple ways and bigger ways when you can. Make sure to take an extra moment notice that joy you feel. Let yourself savour it.

Karen James, here

Happy memories

Think about what creates happy memories.

Something new and different. Time to play and relax. Smiles.

If you can think of what might mar a day like that, picture it as something to avoid. People can't be happy all the time every day, but the more you can allow happiness to flow, the more happiness you will see, and the more happy memories your children can have.

photo by Rippy Dusseldorp