Monday, December 2, 2013

*Learning about Bliss from the Littles

Reflecting on life's most blissful moments, I find that my moments range from serenely peaceful to joyful happiness to raucous hilarity.  Those times when I am caught up in laughter that has tears streaming down cheeks, tummy muscles taut from producing laughs, and smiles that make cheeks ache with joy are when I feel the most free.   I am happy to say I have participated in blissful moments recently.  I had not considered how essential these moments are to my happiness until meditating today. I am grateful that my life allows me to seek out these moments, and fully enjoy them. 

Dover's coloring books for adults, Amazon has them!
What brings you bliss?  Maybe it's been awhile since you have experienced it.  Are your crochet hooks and yarn up on a forgotten shelf?  How long has it been since you've painted a picture or even used a coloring book?  Do you ever look longingly at the bottles of bubbles or packages of jacks and marbles at the stores?  When was the last time you went outdoors to do something other than a chore?  Has your guitar or piano just been gathering dust?

For me, I enjoy being creative with my writing and photography. Spending time in the kitchen trying a new recipe, if I'm not making too big of a mess, can provide an outlet for my creativity. Getting lost in the moment can be as simple as listening to music that inspires, whether that inspiration leads to personal reflection, or an impromptu dance session.  Sometimes I color in my coloring books, thinking only of the next color I will use, allowing the activity to subdue my thoughts so that I am free to enjoy just being.

Making connections with others is one of my greatest sources of joy, whether it is in person or online. If I notice someone is down, sending a small package, card, or message will surely lift their mood, and makes me feel better, too.  As a retired teacher, one thing I miss is the positive energy of children.  Every once in awhile, I get my kid fix by visiting my former students by dropping in at the middle school.  All of those hugs have me floating for days.

Joelle and her oldest
Having taught for thirty years, every single work day I was surrounded by the creativity and energy of children.  Kids have a knack for making things fun, whether they're breaking into song, telling a new joke, getting creative with art supplies, or figuring out a new way to do things.  

My children are all young adults, so it was with great interest that I watched my little sister's younger children over the holidays. Joelle's family lives on a farm, and they are used to entertaining themselves.  They are not foreigners to make-believe, and they are not glued to electronics the way some youngsters are. They have access to horses, fresh air, and the great outdoors.  Each of them seem to be able to entertain themselves, and enjoy doing things together, too. 

We exchange Christmas gifts on Thanksgiving afternoon, and we send wish lists to each other of little things we would enjoy. I always love to see what Joelle's children request.  They seem to love boxes to organize their prized possessions, art supplies, sheet music, flashlights and headlamps, camping accessories, games, books, and toys.  They would rather have something with which to play than a gift card.  I have found them to be very gracious and sincerely thankful for the gifts they've received.  

When Joelle's family arrived, Kiana had her arms full of markers, papers, and a bundle of papers in progress. She was thrilled when I escorted her to my office and set her up at the desk.  She was totally absorbed in her Thanksgiving project, very carefully coloring and cutting out each piece of her turkey. Kiana is a second grader who loves fairies, princesses, Barbies, and all things pink. She loves to play dress up, and on Thanksmas, made do with two long gauzy ribbons of red and green that had adorned her presents.  The ribbons served as her long tresses, and belts, and impromptu interpretive dance props.  Next year, I'm giving her a whole spool of ribbon!

Kalvin takes his outdoor explorations seriously, and was gone for long periods of time.  Later in the day, he invited us to visit his fort he had constructed.  He had laboriously assembled sticks and limbs into a lean-to of sorts, and had organized an area with a fallen tree into his own fantasy world with a special entrance, seating area, and protection from the elements. 

Kody had received the gift of a book, and even with all of the chatter and laughter going on around him, he was totally absorbed in reading The Sands of Nezza. 

Our older kids, Bridger and Erika, escaped the noise of the house, and took their guitars on the porch, sharing their thoughts in between sharing their music. 

Later that night, we played a board game together.  Although Kiana was younger than the suggested ages for "The Last Word", she wanted to be included.  She laughed good-naturedly when she got confused, or her answers weren't acceptable. All of the kids were good sports as they learned the new game. 

My observations taught me that what looks like simple play to us, is very serious business to little ones.  They stay in touch with their childlike qualities by working at it.   Being happy and finding joy can come from many sources, but making a conscientious effort at cultivating bliss will assure us of finding it.

Staying in touch with our inner child can lighten our burdens, and break up our day-to-day responsibilities with moments of peace and joy.  For me, taking pictures and writing tap into my inner child, and give me an outlet for my creativity.  These are some of the things that bring me joy. Maybe you will rediscover something you used to do, or find something you would like to try.  I hope today you will take a few moments to entertain the child of your heart.

Finding My Bliss with My Inner Child

Capturing the moon and stars has been a photographic challenge I've enjoyed this last year.

Bokeh was a new technique for me last Christmas...
and playing with editing software keeps my brain a little sharper.
A little.
Quiet moments in the hot tub can be soothing to the soul, and the body.

Being surrounded by people who love me leaves me overcome with joy.

Silly socks make me think outside of the box.

Learning to ski makes me feel childlike, experiencing pure joy as I glide down the slopes.
There is something special about a slot canyon that evokes reverence, and happiness in me.
Being outside with my Boston Terrier, whether we're hiking in the canyon or along the city canal makes me smile.

Cooking for loved ones who appreciate my efforts brings me joy.  These piggy pancakes were for my girl during her visit.
Snuggling with our Boston is a quiet bliss I enjoy daily.
Hiking makes me happier; it always does.

What will you do today to bring joy into your life?  Find your inner child, and follow your bliss...


  1. Denise! Would it be possible for you to accompany my returned missionary (after the 12th) on a hike somewhere not toooooo far? Marie wants to hike when she comes home and I cannot with my knees as bad as they are. Not that I don't want to but... Will you be around here?


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