This week I found myself in several thought provoking, inspiring situations. My Sangha (the Zen Buddhist group with whom I practice) is studying the Brahma-vihara or 4 immeasurable truths. This week we focused on Joy. Our facilitator led us in a practice that helped us realize and appreciate joy within ourselves and our ability to experience it for others. We had chocolate and strawberries and our exercise was to take some and as we eat it really appreciate that we are capable of enjoying these things in all capacities and how we feel eating them. We then ate a piece again while thinking of another person (s) that for any number of reasons are not able to experience these things and to do our best to find the joy and appreciation for them. I found this to be such a simple yet powerful practice. I especially appreciated this practice as a nutritionist because food encompasses so many emotions in peoples' lives. Also because respect for our food, in general, has been lost. There is a booth at the big Farmer's Market that I go to whose name is three words: Love, Joy, Food. It strikes me every week when I see it. I love it. That concept speaks volumes.
So, I invite you to realize the joy in simple, everyday things. Appreciate the fact that you have them or are able to do, see, taste, hear..experience them because it is probably not the case with everyone. When you are eating an amazing meal from wholesome, nutritious foods take the time to experience the joy in it. When you are listening to music that speaks to you in some way take a moment to experience the joy that it brings you and pass it on. Appreciation ignites joy and joy ignites happiness. No matter what our situation there is something that makes us smile and gives us butterfly flutters. Be joyful for that and share that joy. Ignite and Inspire others. We are all connected and we should all be joyful. Imagine that world. I do!