How can we make our delight durable?
Sometimes it lasts as long as a cobweb in a windstorm. Plus, it has a reputation for naiveté. Oh, isn’t that cute, the know-it-all in me says, but get real: bad guys win and who cares about that pretty little beach rose you’re ohhing and ahhing over when there’s all this destruction and violence in the world. Plus, that rose? It’s gonna die.
Cynicism comes easy. But is my cynicism making the world less destructive and violent? Not one bit. It’s adding to it; cynicism is its own pernicious form of destruction and violence.
So if cynicism comes easy, then I think delight is a decision. Perhaps that’s a big piece of making our delight durable: we must decide to delight, which for some, means granting ourselves permission to delight, and then make ourselves available to it. For me, that means taking myself less seriously, following my curiosities, allowing myself to be surprised, to not know it all. And slowing down.
Take my earbuds out. Lift up my head. Don’t drive my body like a race car. Much of delight is subtle and quiet; the smell of pine on a breeze through the kitchen window, the moment when your teeth first crush open a peach’s taste, the feeling of sliding into clean sheets.
If the know-it-alls say delight is indulgent, they don’t know it all. Delight is catalytic; there are parts of us - creative, expansive, loving parts - that can only be tapped into through delight. And delight is contagious; I was tickled by a scientist’s delight in her research on a subject I have zippo interest in and I, who have no green thumbs, loved a poet’s delight in his garden. Drudgery we know, but delight, they both reminded me, is here, too.
So maybe part of how we make it durable is by living in the world in such a way that we don’t let delight pass us by.
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