Author:Negin M. Khorasani
Editor: Andrew Mech
I was finally able to complete it yesterday. It was such a joyful feeling when the colorful lights came on. This year having the Christmas lights hanging on my porch was the result of a two-week effort as simple as this process may seem. I brought the Christmas decoration box from the basement in mid-November and decorated the pot on the porch and hung up the wreath and the bells. Unfortunately, much to my disappointment one portion of the string of lights would not light up. The part that was actually working was too short to be hung between the two posts of my porch. So I left the malfunctioning string of lights inside so that I could contemplate what could be done with them.
Finally, on December 1st which happened to be a beautiful snowy day, perfect to mark the first day of December, I was able to stop by the local hardware store to buy another string of Christmas lights. The following day was warm and sunny day – perfect for going outside and continuing with the lighting project. With all of the strings now connected and poised for hanging I commenced with what I thought was the completion of this festive ritual. However, once again I ran into a challenge. I plugged the lights into the outlet and timer however when evening arrived the lights never came on.
The next morning, I found a few minutes to check the timer and it appeared to be working fine. Also since I had previously tested the lights, I was confident that they were not the issue. It soon became obvious that the real problem was with the outlet on the porch. Since it was a particularly active day, I could not dedicate any more time to finding a solution to this ongoing exercise in futility. I simply just left it and another night had passed while my porch remained in darkness. The following day, I happened to be talking with my mom about my lights and she suggested that I ask an electrician to come and take a look at the porch outlet. I knew it would take a long time to schedule an appointment with an electrician for such a small project especially during this time of year when many are preoccupied with whatever leftover work they may have. In another conversation that I had with a very dear friend of mine he suggested that I use an extension cord to bring the power from the outlet in my garage to the porch and that seemed to be the ideal solution.
Yesterday morning, I checked the extension cord and the length was sufficient to make it to the porch. So, with great enthusiasm I commenced to plug the lights into the timer and last night when the sun set, the colourful lights finally came on and literally lit my heart with joy!
This experience prompted me to look more deeply into how the small things in life can bring us such a great deal of joy. Interestingly enough, when we work harder for these small things and go to greater lengths it feels even more enjoyable when we finally have them . It seems that we develop a greater sense of appreciation when we achieve something which does not come to us too easily. I think the reason behind this deeper appreciation is because when we work harder for something we become truly present to the desired goal, whatever it may be, and it ultimately finds a greater value in our mind. When we are really focused and present to the object of our attention it bears its fruit and we have complete and utter appreciation for it. In a way, our attention is completely captured by the object of our desire. We are truly looking at it and this state of presence is the secret to experiencing true joy and appreciation.
I personally have some simple techniques for bringing this presence and awareness to basic things in life – things that we often tend to take for granted. One such technique is related to some basic necessities in life such as the water we drink and the bread that we eat. I have a water jar that I drink from and I attached a label that says “Love” on it. Each time when I pour a glass of water for myself to drink, it prompts me to be mindful that I am drinking love. I have a similar technique that I use with the bread I bake. I enjoy making my own sour dough bread and those of you who are familiar with this kind of bread know that there is a culture of bacteria that is used as a starter. I learned how to make this bread and got the starter from my neighbour whose mother is of Italian decent. Italians are known for their mastery and the joy that they bring to baking sour dough bread. My neighbour told me how the culture of bacteria is alive and must be fed daily – much like the way you would feed a pet. He said he has given a name to his starter and encouraged me to do the same. That’s how I chose “Joy” as the name of the starter of my bread, and I even put a label on it that says “Joy”. So when I make my bread dough, it reminds me that it’s joy that I am pouring as one of the ingredients into my bread. I usually make a joke out of it when people comment and tell me, “What tasty bread!” I reply, “It’s because of the joy that I put into it!”. On the surface, it may seem like a little joke or a game. The truth however is there is significance in how we look at things and the way we look at things makes them significant. This point is known in quantum mechanics as a scientific fact – that the beholder influences the reality before them.
The mere conscious connection with the present moment through what we are doing at this moment, (no matter how insignificant it may seem), connects us with our true nature. Who we are deeply has the same qualities of what has formed the entire universe. This life giving force that has created and is governing the universe is flowing through us at all times. Whenever we are present, we are in touch with the eternal part of ourselves that is filled with its innate qualities of love and joy. Also, we have access to insights and intuition in this state of presence. All in all, we are filled with a calming sense of reassurance and confidence in constant connection with Source. This allows us to transform the reality before us into a magnificent experience beyond words.
As we are going through the last days of the year and before we mentally get ready to step into the future with our resolutions – let’s try to really connect with the present moment. We can make it a daily practice for ourselves to bring more and more presence into more and more of our moments. Whatever works for you to cultivate and nurture this presence will be your tools to support you in this endeavor. We must be mindful that life always unfolds from this very moment and depending on our awareness in this moment the next moment will present better opportunities for our individual and collective growth. So unless, and until we can realize this moment fully, the next moment does not show us its full potential, or should I say we are not able to realize it. I invite you to consider this very moment as your entire reality first and foremost. Only in the realization of what this moment holds can we be led to a higher, more evolved state of awareness and a more profound experience of existence. This moment is the doorway to infinite possibilities that can only be accessible to us if we enter this portal in a state of pure presence.
As the great poet, painter, mystic and philosopher William Blake so eloquently conveyed;
“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour…”