That question is often voiced with great sarcasm, generally at times when we know that the obvious answer is “no”. Yet, maybe that question can be used as a tool to reorient our thinking towards joy even in those moments when joy and happiness seem miles away.
Are you enjoying life? Are you having fun each day? Our life here on planet Earth is ultimately so brief that to not be experiencing joy each day is a waste of our precious time. I’ve had several reminders of this recently.
Earlier this year, I took a personal retreat for five days up on the northern shores of Lake Superior. It was a time for meditation, deep reflection and journaling. Although it was also a time of great relaxation and I came back refreshed and rejuvenated, I admit that I have an internal strong personal “taskmaster” which is constantly evaluating how I use my time so as to ensure that I am being “productive”.
This taskmaster was pleased that this “internal time” produced an “external product” of my updated personal vision and mission (listed on my vision page on the website) – including some specific action items that I was committing myself to do. However, before the retreat was over I received an internal message that was simply the word “fun”. I wondered, what the heck did that mean?
Quickly I realized what the message meant. Here I was with all these lofty goals and this “world changing” personal vision which taken at face value certainly seemed important – but it seemed awfully devoid of joy and fun. I knew in that moment that although I could have this grandiose vision and certainly be working towards it – everything I did towards that vision had to be infused with fun!
A month or so later, my wife and I were visiting one of our spiritual teachers and dialoguing around next steps on our spiritual path. At one point, I raised the question regarding my role in working for the international home office of Centers for Spiritual Living. I am blessed to work in partnership with this organization as their ultimate purpose and mine are in total alignment – to create a world that works for everyone, where everyone has the opportunity to live the highest vision of their life.
Much of my work with the organization is in helping them grow so that they may touch more lives and uplift the consciousness of the planet. Again, my personal taskmaster keeps me focused knowing that my actions there, once again, serve such a lofty goal. Interestingly, the only advice this spiritual teacher gave me in regards to this work was to “enjoy my time there – to have fun”. There was that reminder again!
Recently, I took a 10 day vacation. During this time, I spent some days in Disneyland with my large family – including my kids, grandkids, spouses etc. (That’s granddaughters Amelie (l) and Cayla (r) in the picture!) I had fun. I stepped away from my email, I set aside my lofty goals and simply focused on important relationships and feeling joy. Part of the vacation time I simply spent at home with my wife, Mary.
One of my personal joys in taking vacation time is that it normally redirects my focus and attention to the newness of the situation or location. We can get into daily habits which are so ingrained within us that we begin to no longer see our daily lives with the newness and freshness with which we normally see things when we break out of the ordinary. On these “non-routine days”, it’s almost like our senses expand to soak in the experience at a deeper level. We want to grasp it all because it is bringing us so much joy and excitement.
It occurred to me as my vacation was coming to a close, that my experience of daily life did not need to change. Every day could be a “vacation”, no matter what I was doing. Every day could be filled with the same joy and excitement.
So the question to me – and to you – is this: are you having fun? We each have a choice in each moment. We can see our life experiences as routine, same old same old, boring and dull. We can get so caught up in completing our goals, checking off items on our to-do list and listening to our internal taskmaster that we forget that life is supposed to be fun.
Or, we can choose – no matter what the circumstances are – to see our lives as an opportunity for joy and fun. Each day can be exciting – just like when were on vacation – even if on its surface it appears routine. Life is what you make.
Are we having fun yet? I am and I hope you are too!
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!