Sleeping in… (haven’t done this in a while), with soft sheets, and the perfect pillow. Sipping a fabulous cup of chai tea in a sunny window seat surrounded by my loved ones. Taking time to do something for myself that makes my heart sing. Saying no and not feeling guilty afterwards. Taking a hot bath with sea salt and baking soda. This video:
These are a few of my favorite things because they make me feel complete, unadulterated joy.
The list could go on for quite some time. Today, I am choosing to indulge in the sweet scent of my neighbors rose garden. These roses instantly give me a joy jolt whenever I pass them. Maybe it’s because they remind me of all the other people who pass by and enjoy them, including my kids. And maybe it's just because I love my neighbor and her enthusiasm for her roses is contagious.
According to an article I read a while back, “shared joy" has been scientifically proven and is now the basis of a study published in the prominent British Medical Journal. In it Boston Globe reporter Carolyn Y. Johnson writes:
"It seems obvious that your closest friends might influence your mood, but the study found that…the happiness of a friend of a friend of a friend boosts your chance of being happy."
The ripple effect of happiness that these roses bring is such a gift and I want to share it with you today. (Can you feel your joy rising already?!) I even made some delicious rose tea with the petals and I call it JOY TEA because that is how I imagine joy would taste. (Recipe below.)
Here are some of the similarities I have found between growing roses and growing joy:
- Strong roots. There is this invisible connective tissue of thoughts and feelings that binds us humans to each other just like the root system of a rose bush. We need to tap those roots by connecting with our tribe if we want to get the biggest joy jolt possible. Join the Mom-ME Facebook tribe today.
- Self-Care. If we are aware and awake in your human body and open in your heart, like a rose opening to the sunshine, you will know joy. To do this we need to be well tended to (knowing when and how to step in and when to step back/ let go.) For more on this see last week's post.
- Miracles. As to the happiness study, I'm not sure we really need one to measure or prove that joy is a miracle. Forces beyond our control make a thorny branch produce roses and a well lived life produces both pain and pleasure- both of which can be joy enhancing when used as grist for the mill.
BACK TO YOU:
You don't have to take my word for it. Conduct your own JOY experiment in the weeks and months to come. Notice if your sense of ease, peace, or joy has any effect on your home, family, a neighbor, colleague, friend, or even a loved one living on the other side of world!
- Spend a few minutes in a place that feels cluttered, unloved, untended, dark, congested. Notice your breathing, mood, energy level. (Some suggestions: where your garbage cans are kept, an untended garden, or the messiest room in your home.)
- Repeat the exercise in a space that feels harmonious, tended, light-filled, sparkly, clutter-free. Go outdoors if you have to. Notice your breathing, mood, energy level.
- Be mindful of your energy body. How do you feel during and afterwards?
- Compare the two experiences. How does each space feel physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Is it possible to compare without judging them as good or bad?
After you've had a chance to experience two different environments, record your impressions in your journal using the prompts below:
- Sitting in a space that feels unloved, untended, dark, congested, and cluttered makes me feel [physically, mentally, emotionally]______
- Sitting in a space that is harmonious, tended, light-filled, sparkly, and clutter-free makes me feel______
- One small thing I can do today [this week] to change the way my home feels is______
Fresh rose petal tea
- 1 to 2 cups of fresh, pesticide-free rose petals (Be sure to choose petals that are organic.)
- 3 cups of water
- Honey or other sweetener, optional
Clean the petals in a colander placed under running water.
Place the 1 to 2 cups rose petals in a saucepan filled with 3 cups of water.
Boil for five minutes. Then strain and pour into cups or mugs.
Sweeten with honey or enjoy as it is. Easy Peasy.