Updated: Dec 3, 2022
Living in the moment brings delight
Do you have enough delight in your life? Or is it a rare occurrence? If so, how can you experience more of it?
To be delighted is to feel great pleasure in someone or something. It means you’re enchanted or captivated, thrilled, or bewitched. Unfortunately, like joy and surprise, delight is a sudden, unexpected, and brief feeling. It soon passes and you return to your normal state, whether it’s neutrality, boredom, or depression.
The word delight used to be spelled delite. The ‘gh’ was added after the 16th century because of its mental association with light. When we picture someone being delighted there’s usually a lot of light around the image. And when we experience delight, there’s usually a momentary infusion of light into what is going on.
An example of this happened to me years ago when I was a student in Texas. One early winter morning I was hurrying to the library along a damp path fringed with snow. I was pulling my coat more tightly around me and wishing I weren’t so cold when I suddenly stopped. Blocking my way was a Great Horned Owl.
It stood perfectly still in the middle of the path, its bright yellow eyes staring at my dilating hazel ones. The intricate details of the owl’s colouring, its steady stance, its startling size, its unexpected appearance, and its calm acceptance of my presence were instantly and profoundly etched into my mind. For a moment the two of us were the only things existing. The experience pulsed great delight through my being. The cold, grey morning was no longer cold and grey. It was bathed, briefly, in warmth and light.
It was a memorable moment, and I’ve often thought about it and wished I could have similar things happen now. To come across something that will suffuse me with sudden delight would add so much to everyday life.
Julia Margaret Cameron, one of the earliest British photographers, and still renowned for her Victorian portraits wrote:
The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.
So, if I want more delight in my life, I have to pay attention. When I pay attention, I increase the amount of delight I experience. This is sometimes called living in the moment.
Living in the moment is a doorway to delight
Rob and I just spent two weeks experiencing many delightful moments while holidaying in Tasmania. Some of the highlights were the walled gardens and lily ponds at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and a bright yellow tea set in the Conservatory Café in the town of Cygnet.
Delight emerges in the moments we pay attention. The more attention we pay to what is going on around us throughout the day, the more delight we can experience. I’m no longer in Texas or Tasmania, so the likelihood of me suddenly encountering a Great Horned Owl on a snow-fringed path or a bright yellow teapot in a cafe back here in Western Australia is slim. But our house and garden are also filled with potential moments of delight. I just have to look around me.
A bud on a rose bush; a fledgling swallow learning to fly outside my bedroom window; the smell of mown grass; a flickering candle flame; the heart shape engraved on my cappuccino froth by a young man behind the coffee machine who probably has far more important things to do in the crowded café than remind me that I am loved; a funny cloud; earthworms in the garden; a waving hand; a frog call in the middle of the night; a sneeze.
Or a bright yellow tea set!
The world is full of opportunities for delight - when we pay attention!
With love, Marlane