Small Moments of Joy

Even in the midst of a crisis, we can find moments of beauty, stillness and joy

Times of crises are most often the moments in our busy, noisy lives when we are forced to stop what we’re doing and really question what’s going on.

It doesn’t have to be a crisis, of course, but so often that’s the trigger for a break in our normal programming where we can ask the deeper questions…

  • what truly matters to us
  • whether or not we’re happy with how life has turned out
  • whether or not we might want to change a few things moving forward
Are you happy? Yes or No...
Yi Liu, Unsplash

As the Coronavirus pandemic swept across the world, the crisis hit all of us in ways both universal and personal. 

Many people were impacted directly by the virus – either having to shield entirely with pre-existing conditions or watching their livelihoods disappear as the economy shut down. Some fell ill themselves or lost loved ones. And some continued working on the front-lines of care or in an essential service, running a higher risk of exposure. 

Many more were impacted indirectly – compelled to stay at home under government direction, changing the way they work or educate their children, losing access to recreational activities and the social life they were used to. 

But human beings are remarkably adaptable and resilient creatures. As we started to get used to working from home, settling into new routines, and as the perceived threat of immediate danger subsided, so many of us have discovered what author Sam Conniff called ‘the slowness’ in our recent conversation as part of SHINEfest.

‘People are enjoying what they’re terming the slowness, but as I’ve quizzed it, I think it’s people finding the gear they’re supposed to be working at outside of the productivity addiction we all have’.

Sam Conniff

One of the big themes that came out of the 44 conversations we had at SHINEfest 2020: Lessons from Lockdown was this idea of reconnecting with and treasuring more those small moments of joy that can so easily be lost in ‘normal life’. Even if that’s simply taking the time for a cup of tea or enjoying a book. 

A cup of tea and a book
Thalia Ruiz, Unsplash

It’s a theme that’s been reflected on our social media feeds and personal interactions with friends and families. 

So here are some of those small moments of joy that emerged from the festival:

Having more time with our partners and children with everyone at home, even stealing moments in between meetings for a bit of play

Boy playing with legos
Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash

Doing those DIY projects around the house we’ve meant to do for ages – cleaning out wardrobes, papering walls, sanding floors…

Keeping the garden tidy – growing beautiful flowers or starting a vegetable patch or savouring the first bite of something you grew yourself

Preparing food from scratch and taking our baking game to the next level, then sharing meals as a family

Listening to the impromptu concerts that broke out in neighbourhoods as musicians discovered one another

Paying more attention to the small changes in the natural world around us day by day

Starting a journaling practice or using our established practice to explore this life-changing experience

Going outside for your daily exercise or a walk without any other purpose than to enjoy being outdoors  

Child in a park with a bubble
Leo Rivas, Unsplash

Lockdowns and restrictions are easing around the world, people cautiously emerging into spaces that have been silent and empty for months. But before we rush to get ‘back to normal’, before the busy-ness of life descends again, it’s worth identifying those small moments for yourself that you want to take forward. And to be intentional about how you’ll make time in your day for them. 

For me, it’s the mid-day walk I’m now able to take with my dog and simply sitting in the garden with others (at an appropriate distance of course!) sharing a chat at the end of the day and perhaps a glass of wine. 

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