Birthdays are one of the days of the year that we can be fairly certain of some joy. Well, at least after that cold realisation that another year has gone by! I jest. Birthdays have been difficult times in the past for me, as I measured my worth against the cards and presents I had received. I rarely told anyone it was my birthday, silently hoping they would somehow know and surprise me. I’d then lay in bed that night wondering why I wasn’t liked. Now, to many people, this seems daft, but to some, they will know exactly what I mean.

Today is my birthday and I feel joy. It doesn’t matter today what I receive. I will be content as I live each moment today. I will keep in the present, collecting each moment of joy.

(People) ‘ought to know that from nothing else but the brain come joys, delights, laughter and sports, and sorrows, griefs, despondency, and lamentations‘ Hippocrates 460-370 BC

In the past, joy meant things. Now, joy means moments. Fleeting moments that can quickly pass you by and never be returned. Joyous laughter of my daughter. The bark of my dog who wants me to throw the ball, again & again. . . Each and every one of those moments needs a brief acknowledgment. A quick snapshot of the moment is taken in, to be savored like a decent glass of wine. I’ve just cut the grass. I noticed the fresh smell of cut grass, the buds on the trees and bushes just beginning to open, the smell of the earth on my fingers and some distant bird tweeting. Keeping in the moment and noticing is really what mindfulness is about. How many times does serenity wash over us when we are engrossed in noticing the world around us. Sure, the world can be annoying at times, but even that has its time and place. Rumination is for the cows!

Noticing is like a muscle. Leave it unexercised for too long and it will atrophy and wither away. You will be unaware until the times come to need it. Life crisis ensues. We need some skills honed and embedded because when a life crisis hits, we will need to call upon those skills automatically.

Last night I shared a meal with friends. We had a great time together. We shared our stories, we ate and drank together. My daughter and the son of a friend both played. Watching them play, freely without a care other than being told off for being too loud or running around was such joy. They both sat for a time with glow sticks under the table to make them shine more. Noticing their joy was a delight.

What will you notice today?