It was while listening to NPR’s ‘This American Life’ that I heard about Ross Gay’s “The Book of Delights”. Ross spent a year noticing delightful moments in the day-to-day mundane and compiled his related essays in this book.
Later, while reading (or rereading for the millionth time) one of my favorites. “Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature” by Kathleen Dean Moore, she mentioned dropping notes in a “happiness jar” so that she could better understand what brought happiness as she managed grief.
And so, as Covid settled in and the kids posted up for virtual school, in January of 2021 I began my jar of delights.
There is a true practice, a habit, in paying attention to moments that bring me delight. While watering my patio plants, I may notice the tiny purple flower on a pepper plant that has struggled for two years. I suck in my breath as I notice it and I smile---a true moment of delight. My kids, 18 and 15, may say something that shows I have left a positive mark and I internally smile (so as to not show my cards and get an eye roll as a result); it will go into my jar of delights.
Most recently what made my jar of delights was our women’s retreat in the San Juan Islands. While it was not something to decipher among the daily mundane, the whole trip brought delight
What has been most special to me is the practice of noticing and of keeping score in a new way. I have always kept score in one way or another, not always for the best. The jar of delights directs me to keep score in the best of ways, in a way that reminds me how precious my moments are if I pay attention... in a way that reminds me that there are so many passing moments that are delightful that get brushed over, that get dismissed as the next moment of “busy” comes barreling through.
And so, as I sit here with my spiked seltzer at 3pm on a Friday after a hard week of work and of not drinking (yes, moments of delight--both not drinking for the week, and enjoying a beverage now, have made the jar), I am grateful for the training I have done for the past 8 months and for how full the jar is. I am excited to pour over it come New Year’s Eve to review what brought me delight during this past year of life. I am grateful to be privileged enough to fill a jar of delights, to sea kayak in the San Juans, to be living a life that I love and to honor that, while not all of my moments are delightful, I have the ability to notice the ones that are.