|via Cream Your Day|
Where I tend to think of joy as a very exultant, expansive feeling, one that connects you to the rest of the universe, my idea of delight is a little smaller, a little more personal. My sense of joy is very much linked to a sense of sharing, of expansion, of connection - to other people, to a place or landscape, to the universe at large. Delight is almost a microcosm of joy, then, in that I experience it as joy in something very small - such as a beautiful flaky cinnamon roll, the first dipping of toes into cool water on a hot day, opening a really good new book, or learning that my partner is coming home early to take me on a picnic. Unlike joy, I also associate delight with a sense of surprise, or newness - the feeling of being almost taken aback by the pleasure or beauty of something. ("Delighted to meet you," we say.) I do believe that both joy and delight come from a sense of warmth, gratitude, graciousness, compassion -- all those good words that we use to talk about engaging with our existence in an open-hearted and open-minded way. (I don't believe that this is necessary for happiness, although I certainly do think it helps.)
|I will eat them all. Via Eat Good 4 Life|
|a glimpse of Christina's dollhouse, from her awesome blog|
You know what makes for a really easy path to a happy life? Needing nothing more than fresh bread, the company of a friend, an hour in the bookstore, a walk in the woods, or a book and a snack to feel like something wonderful has happened to your day. Delight lives in the simplest and sweetest of pleasures. It exists in the moment of discovery of a bird's nest, an unexpected gift, the glory of having time to get a cool drink on a warm evening. It is not a complex feeling; it is a reaction, the heart startled into flight by a sudden pleasant breeze. It requires a lack of demand and a lack of entitlement: if you feel that you deserve or expect something, it is much harder to be delighted by it. Thus, carrying an openness inside yourself is the best way to cultivate it. That's not to say one should have no expectations of anything at any time; it simply means not taking anything for granted and not being grasping or greedy when it comes to the things that can be delightful.
|Photo: Eloise Parker via Flickr|
Delight is one of the magical sensations that marks the human experience. Even in the midst of suffering, there is still room for moments of delight, that hummingbird, even if it darts away before you've hardly seen the flash of its jeweled tail. But in order to find it, you must be willing to be delighted - which means cultivating an openness, a willingness to be surprised, a sense of pleasurable anticipation, of celebration, of tiny festivals lighting their lamps throughout your life.
What are the things that delight you? What are the most luminous moments of delight you can recall? What has been an obstacle for you to experiencing delight? I'd love to know!