When the cherry blossoms start to bloom in Vancouver it’s hard not to smile and feel good. I love the Spring! It’s filled with fragrance and blossoms and longer days. It heralds the promise of warm sun and fun times outside. Most of Canada and the United States has endured a long and cold winter this year. The advent of spring is a welcome relief.
For me spring is like a positive thought in the midst of a barrage of negative thinking. My judging mind can be swept away by negative reviews of past events and anxious previews of the future. And then bang – a cherry tree in full bloom comes upon my path and it is so spectacular that it stops me in my tracks. I can’t help but be struck by its stunning beauty. And for this split second, I am brought into the NOW moment, my awareness completely captured by witnessing this amazing gift of nature.
It would be great if beautiful and positive events that occur throughout the day always grabbed our attention with such drama. Unfortunately, many of the positive things that occur during a busy day are very tiny, momentary experiences and if we’re not paying attention and watching for them, they can just fly right by. Somehow the negative events and the difficulties we experience seem to hold our attention and remain in our memory bank more than the positive events. One of my teachers, a neuro-psychologist named Rick Hanson, calls this the “negative bias” of the brain. Our deep survival instinct has us wired to watch out more for danger than pleasure. He says we tend to Velcro our negative experiences and Teflon the positive ones. In his book, “Hardwiring Happiness” he focuses on ways that we can reverse this habit of the mind and learn how to Velcro our positive experiences and get better at Tefloning our negative ones. It all comes down to what we pay attention to!
So today, the cherry blossoms are reminding me to pay attention to what’s good and beautiful. That doesn’t mean that my life is perfect… But when I pay attention to the small and wonderful things that are sprinkled throughout my day, then somehow it helps me live life with a little more ease.
I invite you to try this practice….watch out for the small nuggets that make you feel a moment of pleasure. Things like the smile someone flashes you, the delicious apple you bite into, the giggle of a child or the funny way your dog cocks his head. When these events arrive, notice them with your full attention, breathe in the experience, hold it, hold it, hold it. See if you can take in this positive event with each of your senses and store it inside of you before moving on with what you were doing.
Real happiness is not found in the big events of our life such as a new job, a new baby or a new home, car or other object. Real happiness is found in the Cherry Blossom Moments of each day. Look out for them…if you’re not paying attention, they will just zip by.
And if the cherry blossoms aren’t blooming where you live – find something that is…or come and visit us in Vancouver! 🙂
Please feel free to share your thoughts about this practice. I would love to hear about how you are taking in and anchoring the small positive events in your life.