A blog post by Mary Moscarello. Read all of Mary’s posts here.

Even the mundane can be lovely if you pause to give gratitude for it. Sure, these flowers bathed in early morning sunlight on my kitchen table are especially lovely.

There’s something lovely, too, about our goofy dog Bongo, laying on his towel by the back door, wanting to snooze, but watching to see if I’m going to stay in one room for a while since he follows me everywhere when I’m downstairs.

Peaceful ordinary-ness is what I see in the above photo of our cat, Blossom. Unlike the dog, unconcerned with any of the human movements throughout the house – she shields her eyes from the light so she can sink deeper into what is probably her tenth nap of the day though it is only noon.

I’ve noticed these mundane, ordinary things.

I’ve found joy in them.

You may have seen where this post is going. The idea of being “in love” with each moment came to me after listening to an On Being podcast. The guest was David Steindl-Rast – an American Catholic Benedictine monk, author, and lecturer. In his discussion with host Krista Tippet, he said so many things that I could just post the transcript here and it would serve you, dear reader… yet I want to pick a few highlights and apply them to yoga philosophy and how Steindl-Rast’s perspective is so refreshing and helpful during quarantine.

Joy is the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.

Read that again.

Joy is the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.

Have you felt that? Joy? Maybe not recently – but I hope so. Today, I sat in the backyard with my daughter and enjoyed the sunshine, the cool spring breeze and just talked. The grass needed mowing and our yard is not looking very presentable, but it was joyful just to sit and talk with her. Nothing mattered except that we were together. I fell in love with that moment.

How was I able to do that, in a pandemic?

The klesha (obstacles on the path of yoga) known as abinivesha (attachment and fear – sometimes translated as fear of death) can be described as a clinging out of fear. When we encounter this klesha, we cling to fear of loss as a byproduct of change.

If I had given in to abinivesha during today’s sun-soaked daughter chat, I guarantee I would have blocked the joy of the moment which brought me to love it. Holding on to things we hope never change prevents us from experiencing life.

In no way am I saying that fear is an unreasonable response to what’s happening around us, now or before the days of quarantine. You don’t need me to tell you things are bad all over. I offer this method of coping instead. Following the wisdom of “simply noticing things for which I am grateful causes me to have more things about which to be grateful” has prompted me to pause and do just that. I am working on my gratitude response in all ways I can possibly lately and in sharing my gratitude for the sunny backyard time, I am practicing thanksgiving.

Important to note that Steindl-Rast considers it a two-part practice, feeling gratitude and then expressing it. He advises us first to stop, and come into the present moment. Very yogic!

You may be relieved to hear that the pause need not linger long. He says, a split second is enough — “stop.” Once you stop, you then seek what the given moment has to offer. Be in the moment and tap into that immediate feedback loop of joy.