What My Heart Beats For.

IMG_0675Falling in love without fear or hesitation
The evening sun sinking like a golden backdrop behind magnolia blossoms
Flowers that sing of emerging hope in spring
Snow days in winter

High fives and peace signs
Standing on my pedals while biking downhill
Strangers acknowledging each other with a jovial, “hello!”003
The view of the world while up-side-down in a cartwheel

All this is what my heart beats for
Oh this is what my heart beats for

Seeing people I love in my dreams at night
Barefoot walks on soft grass
My sister’s laugh
Nothing-to-hide smiles20140419_135824.jpeg

Raising hell and creating heaven
When people say what they really want to say
Watching a woman fall in love bicycling
End-to-end rainbows shouting ROY-G-BIV

All this is what my heart beats for
Oh this is what my heart beats forny 12

Catching elderly people in unadulterated moments of touch and affection
The last ten seconds before the finish line at peak speed
The sanctuary of warm evenings on the front porch
Spontaneous play

mel cliff jump

Living out of my boldest dreams and creativity
instead of debilitating fear and doubt
Healing touch
Looking people in the eye
The three seconds after jumping off a cliff, body entangled in open air, before landing in water

All this is what my heart beats for
Oh this is what my heart beats for.

The questions and conversations that ensue from lying beneath dark star-filled skieselephants
Gathering around the table in beatific communion
Seeing animals face-to-face in the wild that I’ve only ever seen caged in zoos
Late night heart-to-hearts reminding me that each human heart contains some of the very same pieces

Laughing at myself and taking down my defensive wallssouth korea plane
The velocity of take off
Landing in a place my senses have not experienced before
Gentle rains hitting the Earth at night, a steady lullaby

All this is what my heart beats for,
Oh this is what my heart beats for.

All of this tastes of Heaven on Earth
A portion so sweet, tears collect in the corners of my eyes
Reminding me how beautiful it all is
I take one more breath, not wanting to close to my eyes

Copyright MO 2009

Copyright MO 2009

I want to see it, touch it, taste it, inhale it, exude it, splash in it, roll in it, make waves in it
No skipping beats, no wavering from the present
Steady my heart; this is what keeps it beating
A rhythm that cannot be quelled

And one day, death it will arrive
But life will just be getting started

We’ll meet on the other side;
A heartbeat yielding to the soul’s beat of all that cannot be explained.

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My Best Five Minutes

Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I recently set out on a project of my own.

Only it doesn’t feel like a project.

It feels like love. And life. And delight.

A week ago, I began “joy activities.” These are five minute tasks I give myself for the sole purpose of experiencing joy. The week before, I wrote about having a “smash-my-head-into-the-keyboard” kind of week. I had a stressful day, but what got me through it was the fact that I started the day by spending a few minutes in nature. I intentionally stopped what I was doing to initiate the experience of peace and joy. I realized that unless we intentionally plant joy into our lives each day, happiness and joy may not come. We can’t sit back and hope someone says something funny to make us laugh. We can’t sit back and hope something good will come our way. We can’t breathe easy when schedules are jam-packed with meetings and activities. Or when our work is overflowing.

Perhaps if we don’t have joy in our lives, it’s simply because we are not creating it.

So five minutes. It’s not too much time to detract from the things I really need to do each day. But it is enough to set a tone of positivity and gratitude for the rest of my day. It’s enabled me to experience beautiful memories that I now treasure like a worn photo album from yesteryear.

Through my “joy activities,” I’ve experienced the joy of watching backyard chickens cock their head to the side, inquisitively, and lean their head back, then forward to smash their beak into the corn cob I’m holding in my hand. They’re hilarious, with just the right precision to pick one kernel off the cob at a time. After all, food is meant to be enjoyed, one little smackerel at a time, the chickens remind me.

Because of “scheduling joy”, I’ve hopped off my bike, parked it against a railing on the side of the road, and walked down to river’s edge to gaze at weirs, cascades of cold, flowing rivulets greeting the surprisingly emerald green waters below them. I am fortune enough to pass by such beauty on my morning commute each day, but rarely have I stopped to take it in, to immerse my being with the halcyon sound of bird chatter and waterfall, before biking downtown, where the ambiance of cars and sirens await me.

But even my five minute joy activity turns sirens into symphonies, yes. Today’s joy task was to sing on my bike. Being that I work at a hospital, it’s not uncommon for me to have to pull over for sirens zooming eastward to the ER. But since I was singing, I took a moment to sing “every siren in a symphony.” Suddenly, it made the noise and chaos not just bearable, but beautiful.

I’m reading books that I’ve been trying to get through for months by candlelight- my favorite lavender Yankee candles, lighting all three of them, not just one, aromas tickling my chemoreceptors with pure delight. I flip my fingers through manila pages, not once feeling guilty for pleasure reading instead of getting through my assigned readings for class. And not feeling even a twinge of guilt is a victory for this recovering people-pleaser perfectionist.

Yes. Tomorrow, I’ll experience five joy-filled minutes of yoga.

And the next day, broomball.

And the day after that, a five minute soak in the whirlpool at the gym.

Come springtime, I will lay down in the backyard grass (that’s probably too long from not mowing) and do nothing but survey the contours of clouds in the sky for five minutes.

Because this life is exquisite.

There are chocolates in thin, crinkly foil wrappers waiting to be opened and savored in your mouth for minutes on end.

There are bubbles waiting to be blown into the air, sun meeting frothy blobs, transcending shades of purple and pink off bubble’s edge.

And yes, there’s even a few pairs of fancy underwear I haven’t worn in months waiting for me to stop thinking I need a reason to wear them.

La vie est belle. 

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Copright MO 2014
Baltimore, MD

For inspiration on joy activities you can create in your life, check out: http://zenhabits.net/75-simple-pleasures-to-brighten-your-day/