A week on

Post 6/2023 Saturday February 25 . . . Our first full week in Cornwall included getting around on foot, bus and train. It included shopping for groceries, settling into our flat, taking part in Shrove Tuesday activities at St Anta & All Saints, having a few guests for lunch, and tuning in to favorite tv shows. All in all, we have much to smile about.

I use the term “smile” in its usual sense of turning up the corners of one’s mouth to show pleasure but also to underscore a sense of satisfaction for the day’s engagement. More later.


A feature by Sophie Gallagher (the i newspaper, 23 February) caught my eye, headlined How finding microjoys changed my life. Gallagher said her venture started slowly. She was a bit apprehensive that a book by American author Cyndie Spiegel, Microjoys, Finding Hope When Life Is Not Okay, would be too unrealistic.

Spiegel coined the term, microjoys, Gallagher said, “for the easily accessible things she could grasp on to–a flower on the street, a memory, a conversation. These were joyful things that didn’t require huge effort, a reach, an expense, and things that could be absorbed alongside her feelings of grief and heartache.”

Spiegel took photographs of her microjoys. Gallagher kept a written account. Gallagher wrote, “In looking for microjoys I forced myself to see that my feelings about a day did not always align with reality. I was overlooking the productive gym class. A fleeting chat with a neighbour. The postman making a joke. My favourite lunch. An unexpected cup of tea left on my desk. . ..”

In her book, Spiegel wrote, “It is about honing the ability to access joy despite all else.”

Gallagher concluded, “By the end of the experiment, I felt truly changed. It reminded me how much of life is right in front of us and how those things we take for granted as just another spin around the sun, just another day, are actually the pieces of a blissful puzzle. Life is both so cruel and a constant miracle. My life was no different, the circumstances the same, but I was different. I am different.”

I like the straightforward weighting of how an optimistic personal outlook can counter pessimism and cynicism concerning all that makes the world a troubled place. People deserve joy. It’s more than a surface thing. It’s not saccharine sweet. It can be had. Joy pops up in small, unexpected, surprising, ordinary ways day in and day out.

Micro joys lie waiting.


2 thoughts on “A week on

  1. Hello John!


    div>Thanks for relaying the concept and practice of micro joys!


    div dir=”ltr”>


        May the God of Wonder be with you, delighting you with the beauty of sunrise and the majesty of sunset, with the song of the bird and the fragrance of the flower.                 


    div>                                                  —Maxine Shonk,


  2. Micro joys can be found in so many places if we just take a moment to realize it and honour it. I’m sitting at the farm and I’m reminded of dad during his last winter of earthly life. Sitting in his chair and seeing the cardinals on the bird feeder. Brought him so much joy.


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