Three Ways to Find Joy in Life

Sharing these three ways to find joy in life was prompted by a recent, sweaty morning, trimming my zinnias in my garden. It reminded me of one of my most unexpected joyful moments nine years ago during a mundane walk from the light rail station to work.

1 – Bring Joy With You

On the weekends I spent hours in my Colorado flower garden. It was sometimes hard to leave it Monday morning as I started my commute to downtown Denver.

Why not bring my garden with me? I started picking flowers Sunday afternoon from my garden. I had the perfect container to keep them in – one of those big plastic mugs from a stay in the hospital.

2 – Share Your Joy

As the light rail car gently swayed left and right, I would close my eyes, and inhale the fragrance of flowers. Instantly, I was transported back to my garden, removing spent blossoms, trimming away overgrowth, until the jarring computer voice announced the Auraria / Colfax station.

Auraria / Colfax Station
Auraria / Colfax Light Rail Station

Opening my eyes, I gathered my belongings and caught another commuter smiling at me. They were enjoying the flowers too. Some even asked me questions as we stood in the aisle, waiting for the doors to open.

“Did you grow those?”
“I’ve never seen a flower like that. What is it?”

A simple container of flowers gave many of us a few moments to escape the Monday morning blues before we arrived at work.

3 – Give Your Joy Away

After I exited the train at the Auraria Station, I hurried to the pedestrian crossing at busy West Colfax Ave. Once safely across, my only other consideration was a decision on which street to take along Cherry Creek. Often, I sized up the current homeless man on each corner and how to avoid them, changing my pace to catch the light, or turning along Speer Blvd. In contrast, the hapless drivers, stranded by red lights had their own methods of dealing with their discomfort. Most looked straight ahead, but usually at least one car would roll down their window just enough to dangle a few bills and try to hide their embarrassment through half smiles. These interchanges were anything but joyful.

For myself, I sometimes gave them fast food gift cards rather than money. But my full bouquet of daisies gave me an idea. Why not give away a flower?

“Would you like one of my flowers?” I asked as I stood at Colfax and Speer.

He looked confused at first. Then a broad smile spread across his face. He held up his forefinger in the universal symbol for “Wait just a minute.” I watched him run a few yards to his knapsack hidden beneath a shrub at the edge of the Burger King parking lot. He returned quickly with a bottle half full of water and held it out for me to place the daisy in it. Then he proudly carried his makeshift vase and flower with him as he canvassed the faces of drivers for someone willing to part with a few dollars.

For me, I carried the image of his smile all day. It magnified the joy my vase of flowers brought me, sitting on my desk.

How Can You Find Joy This Week?

This article shows how a love of flowers can bring joy in multiple ways by taking one step at a time. Are you willing to take a chance and explore three ways to find joy in your life this week?

  • Make a list of things that bring you joy.
  • Consider how you can share that joy with others.
  • Is it possible to go to the next level and give some of your joy away?

I’d love to hear from you, either with a comment below or send me an email.


A Different Halloween Story

Today I’m going to tell you a different Halloween story that might make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Fade back to Monday

Three mornings ago, I checked my social media notifications and saw an odd Twitter recommendation. The tweet contained none of the usual hashtags, but reading it sparked a memory of a blood test result from a year ago. During a broad blood test that included checking for ferritin, a red flag indicated my reading was high… very high, double the ‘normal’ high. All I remembered about the talk with the doctor who discussed my blood test result was it was advisable to give blood. A second test three months later showed my ferritin level was still over the expected high number, but it decreased about 90% from the previous reading. They suggested I give blood three times a year.

Observe, gather information, then Act

My immediate reaction to the tweet about ferritin and the condition, hemochromatosis, resulted in an Internet search for more information. I was surprised to find out it can cause serious damage to the liver, pancreas, or heart if never treated. The condition is hereditary, suspected with high serum levels of ferritin, diagnosed by a positive DNA test, and treated solely by phlebotomy (blood letting or blood donation). Out of ten common symptoms, I identify with almost half.

Tuesday morning was my regular acupuncture appointment and I mentioned my ferritin levels to the acupuncturist. She also noticed the coppery color of my legs. Her suggestion was also to give blood three times annually.

Here’s the thing. My first blood donation a year ago did not go well. I was so dizzy, I almost fainted. I ‘forgot’ to do it again. Tuesday, I figured I was way past due for a blood letting. It also seemed I needed to talk to my current doctor about my concerns. Immediately after my acupuncture I took action.

  1. Dropped by my doctor’s office to book an appointment
  2. Drove to the blood bank and was able to donate almost immediately
  3. Received my cool Halloween T-shirt

Some Lessons Learned

First, always notice when something odd crosses your path. It isn’t happenstance. I believe it’s a higher power looking out for you. And who knows, maybe a cool t-shirt will be your reward. Oh and also, blood-letting and fear make for a different Halloween story.

I don’t know if I have hemochromatosis and probably won’t know for months. But I feel much better taking the initiative to follow the suggested treatment while helping others with a blood donation. It is one of the easiest ways you can help your fellow man. 

If you’re in Central Florida on December 15, 2019, I’m teaching an Introduction to Japanese Meditation class. Stay tuned for more information or even better,  sign up for my weekly newsletter. You’ll never miss a blog or an announcement.