Why is it sometimes so hard to enjoy being happy? Just yesterday I got an email from an editor saying he loved the piece I had rather fearfully sent him. I was elated! Joy! Success! But within seconds, I was on to worrying about edits, and other assignments, and the dust balling up in the hallway, and the soot on the windowsills.
My mind spun through the hundred tiny vexing things I had to do, when suddenly I came to a word: STOP. Literally, it loomed up, a cherry red stop sign, filling my brain. STOP?
Yes. That’s when I realized I wasn’t letting myself be happy. Was it superstition? If I’m happy, that means I could become unhappy…. Was it fear? How hard it is to give into happiness. Was it just that unrelenting, driven, monkey mind saying ‘Not good enough! Nothing is ever good enough!’ Whatever the reason, it seemed suddenly absurd. I wasn’t letting myself fill up with the joy of a small accomplishment, I wasn’t giving myself credit for something well done, and I wasn’t simply, well, enjoying the moment. Don’t you love how the word enjoy has the word joy embedded in it? Being in the joy.
So I stopped. I put down my broom, I closed the laptop, I made a cup of tea and sat in a sunny window, gazing out at the cold ground, looking at a gorgeous crocus pushing out through matted leaves, letting the feeling of happiness just rush through my veins, feeling--and holding--it in my belly. Lovely. I felt gratitude, and pleasure, and I basked in all those good things. To bask: I looked it up in the dictionary, and learned that the word originated between 1350-1400, as bathaske--to bathe oneself.
We don’t bask enough, and we ought to give ourselves the time to just sit in joy--time even to soak in a hot tub full of gorgeous oils and lavender scents, skin basking and mind basking--before we get turn back to those dirty dishes piling up in the sink!