Simplify Sundays Vol. 2

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world. We can do this even at the most difficult moments. Everything we see, hear, taste, and smell has the power to strengthen and uplift us.
— Pema Chodron
Photo by  Khai Sze Ong  on  Unsplash

Photo by Khai Sze Ong on Unsplash

It's Sunday!? I curse the dreaded realization, this happens every Sunday. As if I should magically expect a third day to be tacked onto the weekend. I'm unconsciously training myself to be anxious.

Well, I'm done getting the raw end of the deal. Simplify Sundays are an open invitation to combat Sunday angst. Fuel to start your week with intention. I'll let the experts give the advice. I'm the experimenter.

I hope you learn something you didn't expect. We can all benefit from a little outside help.

As my good pal Schwarzenegger said, "The worst thing you can ever do is think that you know enough. Never stop learning. Ever."

When you practice the joy of loving kindness...

How to Overcome Stress by Seeing Other People’s Joy - If you are feeling similarly overwhelmed by how affected you are by the emotions of others, I’d like to offer another possibility for preserving your well-being: Double down on your capacity for empathy. Instead of trying to become immune to other people’s stress, increase your susceptibility to catch other people’s joy.

As you begin to look for joy, you will notice more and more of them. There is the joy of pleasures, simple or sublime, such as enjoying a delicious meal, listening to music, or savouring how it feels to hold a baby in your arms. There is the joy of purpose, and how it feels to contribute, work hard, learn, and grow. There is the joy of being connected to something bigger than yourself, be it nature, family, or faith. There is the joy of wonder—being curious, experiencing new things, and feeling awe or surprise.

Here are five of my favourite everyday practices for catching joy. As you strengthen your intention to notice joy, you will surely discover your own favourite ways to witness and share in the happiness of others.

Watch a child or animal play. Delight in their joy, energy, and wonder. Let yourself smile or laugh as their playfulness awakens a similar spirit in you.

Watch an athletic, artistic, or other kind of competition without taking sides. Appreciate the effort, skill, or artistry of all competitors—and celebrate the joy of whoever wins. Feel glad for their success, and watch how they celebrate it with others. See if you can extend your empathic joy to how they share the moment with friends, family, coaches, or teammates.

Help someone else celebrate their happiness. If someone shares good news, ask them to tell you more, and listen whole-heartedly. If you become aware of an accomplishment or milestone in a person’s life, write them a congratulatory email or Facebook post. Go beyond “pro forma” congratulations and really feel the joy of helping someone savor something positive.

Witness the good in others. Set the goal to notice when others display character strengths like kindness, honesty, courage, or perseverance. Take joy in seeing the good. Feel heart-glad about what you observe. Let yourself feel inspired by their actions to do good yourself.

Let someone else do something nice for you. This might not seem like a practice of empathic joy, but it becomes one when you begin to pay attention to how happy it makes the other person. Sometimes our own discomfort with receiving kindness, or fear of being a burden to others, gets in the way of seeing that joy.

When you discover you've already arrived...

You've arrived. It's easy to fall in love with the GPS version of the universe. There, just ahead, after that curve. Drive a little further, your destination is almost here.

When you read something that shakes you to the core...

Advice to the Young from Pioneering Astrophysicist Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, Who Discovered the Composition of the Universe

Young people, especially young women, often ask me for advice. Here it is, valeat quantum [literally “equivalent amount” in Latin, an idiom for “(let it be worth) as much as it is worth”]. Do not undertake a scientific career in quest of fame or money. There are easier and better ways to reach them. Undertake it only if nothing else will satisfy you; for nothing else is probably what you will receive. Your reward will be the widening of the horizon as you climb. And if you achieve that reward you will ask no other.
There are those — and I am one of them — who rebel at having to deal with an intermediary. They want to go to the fountain-head. Someone who knows me well says that science, to me, has been a religious experience. He is probably right. If my religious passion had been turned toward the Catholic Church I should have wanted to be a priest. I am sure that I should never have settled for being a nun. If it had been directed toward medicine, I should have wanted to be a surgeon; nothing would have persuaded me to be content to be a nurse. As I look over the world of science, I picture most of the many women who are working in that field today in the role of nuns and nurses. They are not allowed — they are not supposed to be fit — to be in direct touch with the fountain-head, whether you call it God or the Universe. (But even as I write, this situation is changing.) Here I have had no cause for complaint. I have always been in direct touch with the fountain-head. No other mortal has made my intellectual decisions for me. I may have been underpaid, I may have occupied subordinate positions for many years, but my source of inspiration has always been direct.

I'm here to help. Shoot me an e-mail and tell me what you're working on!