I am writing this blog in honor of my friend David who passed March 26 after a 20-month battle with Glioblastoma. His wish was for his friends and loved ones to create joyful moments in his honor. During the virtual service, there were over 400 participants from all over the world that joined the Zoom meeting to pay their respect to David, who passed at age 51. He left behind two young children, ages 12 and 10, a wife, and a mom. As if things couldn’t get any worse, two days later, David’s mother lost her longtime boyfriend to the Coronavirus.
Throughout several virtual meetings of Shiva, I was able to reflect on what is really important in this life. Right now, so much of life seems like it’s been put on hold, but what’s important to us should always remain forefront in our minds. David specifically asked that after his passing everyone create joyful moments, so this blog is meant to be a reflection of his wish.
Over the past three weeks, I’ve done a lot of thinking about what is important to me and how the awareness of what is important in your life can help you feel happier during stressful times. This is an activity blog that requires some participation. In order to really make the most out of this blog, it is important that you get a notebook and a pen so that you can do your own reflections and come away with practical solutions that will help you create your own joyful moments!
Reflect back on your life and write down five occasions or situations that brought you immense joy.
Take a look at these things that you just wrote down and ask yourself: Is there a common thread between all of them? How recent are the items on your list? When was the last time you actually did something that brought joy to your life?
I came up with the following five things that bring joy to my life:
Connecting: Spending quality time with family and friends.
Giving back: Helping other people and empowering them with the right tools and skills.
Learning: Learning something new and exciting related to physiology and psychology.
Being active: Traveling around the world and in nature and exploring new places and moving around. For me, this one also involves simply being physically active—working out, walking my dog, etc.
Practicing mindfulness: It took a very long time to learn and execute, but now that I feel that I have a much better awareness of how to practice mindfulness and am able to do it regularly, I find joy in even the smallest moments.
A specific example for me of practicing mindfulness came when I was watching Grey’s Anatomy with my girls and talking about the show. I was really being present. My middle daughter asked me to scratch her back. I’m sitting there, next to my 12-year-old, and as I’m scratching her back I’m just taking in the fact