Living Joyfully

I am fortunate enough to have a friend that is right there with you, I mean RIGHT there with you…and sometimes we may not have even talked for 6 months! She has been there with me in the depths of darkness and she has been there with me in the brightest of moments. She’s cheered on every single accomplishment and has never questioned my abilities or rationale (and at times maybe she should have, oh…those college semesters abroad in Seville). But she is THAT kind of friend. We all deserve to have one. On the contrary…I ask myself who I am that kind of friend for, if not just for her.

You see, I needed a blog idea, a really great one of course. I respect her opinion and asked her what she would want to read about from a trusted photographer. So this blog is because of her. I credit her for this.

To begin with, my intent within our family and in my life is to focus on celebrating the “now”. Carpe Diem, seize the day! Seize the moment, so on and so forth. Then I had one kid, then another, and then another. By then I was living in to-do lists (and in the laundry room) and no longer living in the moment. I started to ask myself, how do I even quantify “living in the moment”? Is it being present…not thinking about anything else than what you hear, see or smell? Or is it sitting quietly just noticing your thoughts and where your mind takes you. (When would I ever find time to do that?) Maybe it is choosing to do something with the time that is given to us a gift, and therefore we should use it very wisely. It raised so many questions without so many answers.

More importantly…if I’m not certain what the true meaning of ‘living in the moment’ is, how can I teach my children what I’m not sure of myself? Things needed to change.

There is a book called Teaching Your Children Joy by Richard Eyre. I don’t know about you, but we could definitely benefit from more joy in our home. It’s not that our home is joyless…it’s just more like a “dash out the door, no one gets dressed fast enough, scarf down that granola bar, and if you’re thirsty just swallow your own spit” kind of house sometimes. And, really, who wants THAT? There’s zero joy there. So, I put this book my girlfriend recommended to the test. Our son coincidentally had a week off from hockey, swimming was over for the two oldest kids, and luckily, I have a 1 ½ year old that teaches me more about living in the moment than I could ever teach him. So, it was the perfect time to instill some intentional joy.

I created activities to emphasize, “Spontaneous Delight”, as one of the chapters suggested and it was quite jaw dropping what I observed. As I suggested one activity, my oldest child actually resisted. The idea was to pop popcorn and eat it off the floor instead of out of a bowl. Completely crazy, I know. But, I was just running headfirst into spontaneous delight–nothing was going to stop me now! But I did find his resistance very telling. Apparently, I was teaching him something by not intentionally teaching him anything at all. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I realized how much of a model I am for those sponges around me (some days I call them my little bloodsuckers, with the most love ever, of course).

After eating popcorn off the floor (that just still sounds so weird), we engaged in tickle fights, non-stop painting for my 18 month old and improvs of Elsa and Anna singing (and screaming) “Let it Go” in the kitchen as we danced around the floor. I continued to throw the littlest guy into the air until I could no longer breathe and needed another chiropractic appointment. But, the pleasure of me laughing and seeing my three kids giggle uncontrollably inspired me to do better. Much better. Once again…my children are teaching me something.

And so, it is my new journey to experience joy in all its forms, to model joy, and talk with my kids about what makes them happy. And it all goes back to one of my best friends. My friend who has once again, impressed upon me another beauty in life. Living in the moment. She never ceases to amaze me.

Some Spontaneous Delight in action…

 

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