happiness could be as simple as mindfulness
think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures. ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
I was talking texting with a friend of mine this afternoon about running and yoga and all things related, because, let’s face it, that’s all I seem to talk about these days as the Long Haul 100 gets closer and my teaching schedule grows more hectic, and out of nowhere the next text that comes through reads “warm PJs from the dryer are the best.” Now this had absolutely nothing to do with the conversation at hand, nor was it relevant to anything we’d ever talked about. In fact, I don’t think it’s relevant to anything I’ve talked about with anyone. Ever. This sparked a thought, though. How many of these small things in life go unnoticed? These simple things that we take for granted. These simple things that we take for granted, that if we didn’t, we might add a few more smiles to our day. I don’t know about you, but I will always welcome more happiness, and I do believe that we have at least some control over that. Sometimes it may be as simple as paying attention to what you’re doing, rather than just going through your day on autopilot. Being mindful, if you will… This revelation, perspicuous as it maybe should have been, feels…. something. I can’t find the right word for it, but I suppose that’s not really necessary. What’s necessary is to take notice of the feeling and do something with it. So with that, brought to you by a pair of warm PJs right out of the dryer, is my list of simple pleasures:
1) The cold side of a pillow: I flip my pillow no less than 4 times a night just to feel the cold side as much as possible.
2) Stretching out on my yoga mat after just unrolling it: I spend a large portion of my day exerting physical and mental energy, and I get the tiniest reprieve from that for the first minute or two that I come onto my mat.
3) A shower after a long run: I sweat when I run. A lot. It doesn’t matter if it’s 4˚ with 25 mph winds outside, I’m a sweater, and since I have an extraordinary amount of hair, my head is especially icky. I’m also quite clumsy and often come home with legs covered in dirt from falling. There is little better than being grimy from head to toe, and within ten minutes, feeling like you’re in an entirely new body.
4) Good conversation: I have a lot of conversations with people about a wide range of topics, and I usually enjoy them. Every once in a while, though, I find myself engaged in one in which sparks fly and my brain literally feels excited. It’s truly invigorating.
5) Making the first footprint in the snow: Oklahoma is more known for its silencing ice storms when the temperature drops than a few months of snow, but on occasion, it gives us a winter gift that is just so inviting. To walk outside and put a wrinkle in that fresh, white blanket feels satisfying. Almost that child-like feeling of accomplishing something.
6) People watching: We share the world with each other, but it’s easy to fall into a place of just existing in the world together. Every once in a while, I’m reminded that there can – and should – be more than that. I can be sitting in my favorite spot at my favorite coffee shop, sprawled on a blanket in the park, or in between flights at the airport and am witness to raw human emotion. I just watch as people engage with one another, and in this day of technological hyperconnectivity, it’s a rare and lovely treat.
7) The first warmish, non-windy day of spring: This is a very specific feeling. It’s that early morning that I walk outside for a pre-sunrise run and instantly realize that I’m overdressed. I get to pop back inside, ditch the ear warmers, and change into shorts, and then I am completely, middle-school-girl giddy for the rest of the day… which leads me to
8) A beautiful sunrise: Seriously. Oklahoma is a bit backward and antiquated in a lot of ways, and Mother Nature is a total bitch to us, but our sunrises (and sunsets, for that matter) are breathtaking. I only wish I had some decent photography skills to capture them.
9) When an old song comes on the radio: You know those songs? The ones that take you back 20 years and you actually feel like you have time traveled? You feel it in the pit of your stomach and it travels the length of your body, and you wish it could last just a little longer.
10) Finding my spot on the trail: I have this spot on my favorite trail that I’m drawn to. It reminds me of “my spot” as a kid in Alaska. Most days, I just run by it and take a mental note, but on occasion, I have this need to pull off the trail, navigate the thorny bushes, and touch the tree that marks the spot. It’s comforting… like an old sweatshirt or a familiar blanket.
The grammarian-writer in me feels like I need to ‘properly close this piece out,’ but the human-writer in me says that it’s enough just as it is. I think that for today, I’ll honor the human side.