Enjoy What You Do
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Some years ago, I started trying to be…for lack of a better way of saying it…more zen. I had read that in Nichiren Buddhism, there was a belief that the reason we humans are all here is to enjoy ourselves. In other words, we are to be “happy and at ease.” It seems simple on the face of it, but when I actually started to put it into practice, I realized that it was much, much harder.
I first realized that this idea isn’t about just enjoying how you make a living or filling up all your time by doing only what you want to do. No. It’s about developing a life where we can freely enjoy each moment. It requires lots of work and self-development.
I freely admit that I have not always been successful at this. It’s something that I have to work on daily. What I’ve realized is that there are just some things you really do just have to grin and bear it to get through. That’s what I thought was going to happen with the colonoscopy my doctor insisted needing doing because “you’re at that age now.”
On the way to the appointment, I sincerely thought about getting The Dane to turn around and take me home. My anxiety was very high that day. The place where this event was to take place was hard to find. When we finally did find it, the parking lot was very small and we had a hard time trying to get a spot. The place was new and construction people were milling around outside. When we stopped to check-in, the computer wasn’t working and it seemed to take forever. All the while, I considered bolting right back out the door.
I’m pretty sure that the fact that The Dane has done this before and never complained get me moving in a forward motion. By the time the nurse called me back though, that fact was wearing pretty thin.
My nurse, Jesse, was very sweet and took her time. The medical portion didn’t seem to be under construction and ran exactly like it should have. Jesse seemed to do everything she could to put me at ease, even though she told me that this was her first day on the job.
Before I knew it, she had moved along to the next patient and there I was sitting on a stretcher waiting for someone I didn’t know to come and get me to take me back. I thought to myself, “Okay, PJ, what is there to enjoy about THIS experience?” After thinking about it briefly, I realized that I had a couple of things that I could enjoy about the day. One, once they got started, it would be over in roughly 15 minutes and then I’d have the rest of the day off from work. Two, that I’d get to sleep through the whole thing. That calmed me down and gave me a chance to fully immerse myself in the experience of just sitting there and waiting without all the anxiety.
But that felt a little like cheating. The task is to enjoy the actual moment that you are in. That meant I had to figure out how to enjoy sitting half-naked on a stretcher waiting for people who were going to take me to a room with lots of strange instruments where they would knock me unconscious and stick something in my rectum. If there is ever a moment NOT to want to find enjoyment, it might be this one. But I kept concentrating on it.
Finally, I noticed that there was a steady beat underneath all the activity that hummed along. The occasional nervous chuckle. The tapping of computer keys. The pulling and closing of curtains. All of it began to sound something like a song in my head. For one of the first times in my life, I can say that I fully experienced every second of what was happening in my now, right up to the moment when the nurse placed a mask over my face. After that, I recall absolutely nothing until I felt myself being wheeled down a hall and I noticed the bright lights in the ceiling. And coming to wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. It was like coming fully aware and then shortly, I got dressed and went on my merry way. (Though I will admit that there was something completely creepy about knowing all these folks had just seen more of me than I’ve ever seen).
Afterwards, I was able to enjoy my afternoon off. I recall that The Dane took me to a new Ice Cream parlor and I tried a new flavor to commemorate the day. It was called Fat Elvis (banana ice cream all shook up with a salty peanut butter ripple and rich liquid chocolate chips) and I highly recommend it!
Nowadays, I’ve come to understand that I’m not going to be excited about every single little thing that’s going on in my life. What I have learned though is that by striving for enjoyment, I do take the time to get more pleasure from the here and now than I ever have in the past.
Another thing that I’ve realized is that life is not just made up of big huge moments like that first special kiss or your wedding day. It’s a thousand little moments a day that are so sincere that they are almost heartbreaking. It’s the laughter of a fun waitress, or the smile and wink from the barista at the coffee shop, and it’s the fun little looks you get from all the tiny beings around you. And sometimes, it’s a moment when you’re sitting on a stretcher and you know that you are just fully alive…and you are doing your best to stay that way.
Until next time – enjoy everything, even the annoying parts. (PS: If that doesn’t work, then do what I do, use irony, gallows humor and sarcasm).
About this A New Day Sweater – The neck is very high, but the fabric is soft. Please note that the sleeves are very fitted from the wrist to just below the elbow.
About the Skirt – In the ad for this skirt it looks much shorter. I’ll have to remember that the next time I get a skirt from them as I hadn’t intended to get something this long. There is no give to the material in this skirt, though it does run true to size.