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Risking Delight

I’ve been pondering the concept of delight this week. It arose through re-reading one of my favorite books, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. This quote jumped off of the page and grabbed hold of me, hard. I’m following where it leads me.

“We must risk delight. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.” - Jack Gilbert

Through conversations in the book club I’m leading discussing the book, through thoroughly loving this poem from Hafiz, and through considering what brings me joy and delight, I’m claiming to be a student of delight here as we begin a new year of 2022.

I love the fresh start feeling of a new year. Especially with the expectations, noise, busy-ness and lead-up to the holidays being over, I get to once again retreat to my couch and my cat cuddles to wait out the cold January days that are delightfully showering us with lengthening daylight each day. This fresh, clean-slate sort of feeling, accompanied with my inquiry into delight, is helping me truly notice the little things that add up to make a delightful life.

The sunset.

My cat, Jimminy, loyal companion, confidant and cuddler of the last fourteen years.

Sweet moments with my nephews.

The quiet surrounded the woods where I live.

Precious family gatherings, most recently to celebrate my grandmother’s 92nd birthday.

Making a new, delicious soup with the chicken my brother raised and vegetables from the farmers’ market.

Going out to dinner with a friend just because.

Sharing a cup of tea with my delightful partner.

The list goes on and on. There is another delight around every corner. Can I heed Jack Gilbert’s call and continue to risk delight? Can I choose stubborn gladness this year? Maybe not in every moment. Inevitable cycles of doubt and fear creep in, as well as other fodder for the ruthless furnace of this world like judgement, complaining, and grumpiness that comes and goes. But there’s a certain steadiness, in my mind, to stubborn gladness.

This year, and every year, I say yes to delight.


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