I pulled into the driveway, a few days ago, during a torrential downpour. Our broken van blocked the entrance to the covered portion of the drive, of course. I managed to pick up my youngest and get her in her car-seat before the storm started, but I was now facing unloading everything in the rain. Ugh. Typical ending to this frustrating day! I started by unloading my paperwork, shielding it with my body, then got all the endless bags, and headed out to get my daughter on trip number three. By this time I was soaked through, but at least my daughter would be mostly dry! As I opened her door, she started clapping. Clapping!! She was ecstatic. I pulled her into my arms and she shouted, “Raining! Raining!!.” Her joy at this chance to be rained on was infectious. Even I had to laugh and turn my face up to the rain. We giggled and bounced all the way to the house.
The whole time I was in the rain, all I could think about was misery. The rain was miserable, my day was miserable, my soggy shoes were miserable. Yet my daughter managed to approach the situation with not only glee, but anticipation! Her excitement only built as I unloaded all my things. She couldn’t wait until it was her turn to get wet! I’m so glad she wasn’t infected by my misery-guts, and instead passed on her joy. Hopefully, she’ll never learn to dread the rain and react with frantic running and screaming (like we do so often when it starts to rain).
On cue, Lauren Bacon’s Weekly Curiosity Experience arrived and held up a mirror to my own experience. She reacts to watching a video of a child playing in the rain, “As I watched it, I was reminded of how rarely I allow myself to give myself over completely to the visceral ecstasy of simple things: wet, warm raindrops; the soft warmth of my bedclothes; the unflagging, constant support of the earth beneath me.” We get so caught up in our own thoughts, our desire to control our day, that we miss out on simple and pleasurable experiences. In fact, we dread anything that doesn’t fit into our plan! How would my level of happiness, my feelings of overall contentment in life, change if I could approach the “rain” with glee?
Bacon goes on to ask:
I have some work to do… I couldn’t think of simple pleasures (other than wine and chocolate). Even in the rain, with my attitude adjusted, we were only out there for a few seconds. The answer to the third question is: scary. I’m scared to listen to my body. I don’t feel like I have the time to allow it what it wants: rest, a visit to the doctor, to cry more, to laugh longer.
I turn this exercise over to you and invite you to join the Curiosity Experience too. You can put in your e-mail on the main page or see them on Facebook. She writes a lot of fantastic things about infusing joy into your life–which in turn–helps adjust your ratio of work life balance. The more joyful moments you experience, the more balanced you feel. The more balanced you feel, the more consciously you can approach your schedule and reactions to it.
Balance is a cyclical, living, thing that requires attention and adjustments.