You know those times during the week when you are suddenly very consciously aware of how very happy and content you are? When you look up and see the world frozen for a split second and you find your heart simply glowing with happiness?
When it happens, it's as if I'm going through my day, and then someone turns on a beacon of golden light that makes me stop, lift my head from whatever I was occuped with, and take notice with absolute clarity. I breathe. I smile. I AM HAPPY. The feeling floods through me and fills me up. And these golden moments usually happen when I'm with family and friends, the people I love.
This past weekend was filled with those golden moments, lucky girl that I am. On Friday, my friend and dance instructor, X, had a dance mixer at his dance studio. I haven't seen X in a few months, and haven't taken lessons or been in his studio for even longer. In his e-mail about the mixer, he also said that one of my favorite salsa instructors and a good friend, Zuly, would be there, too, and that her salsa performing group would be performing. woo-hoo! I called a friend who wants to learn salsa and needed a night out, picked her up and we went to the studio. I was grinning ear-to-ear the entire time. X always has such great parties; he taught salsa, merengue and cha-cha lessons at various times during the night, he had a fun contest, there was the performance (which was fabulous! Zuly is an outstanding choreographer who uses the entire body so amazingly) - it was non-stop fun, and my friend got her feet wet in learning the basics of latin dance. Plus I ran into several old dance friends!
Saturday night, one of my "forever friends" had a gathering at his place for our group. (Chris, Glenn, Paul and I have been super-tight friends for over 30 years, from way back when we'd hang out with each other every day; a regular sitcom we were.) All I have to do is step into a room with these guys and the beacon comes on and I'm standing there grinning. We have always bantered and teased mercilessly and we haven't stopped yet. Thrust and parry, bob and weave - we'd be in mid-conversation when someone would fling some barb and we'd all be on the floor laughing. Super-smart guys, we can hold an intelligent, well-considered conversation - between bouts of laughter - and enjoy one another's company so much, that the conversation is effortless. We have such a wealth of shared experience together and almost our own shorthand way of being together, that's it's like wearing your favorite pajamas.
Sunday afternoon, my daughter had a combination housewarming party and 30th birthday party. Yes, my munchkin, who looks like she's still 14, is turning 30 today, December 6. This was the first time that her family and her husband's family would be coming out to see their new home. Daughter spent two days cleaning, decorating and cooking and she did a fabulous job, with chili verde, chicken enchiladas, beans and spanish rice, all made from scratch. (Her beans tasted just like my mom's; delicious!) As members of both families were happily jabbering away with one another and eating, I looked at them all and felt so happy. I looked at Daughter, gathering the compliments on her new home, and I was happy.
Each night this week, I've lit my 1st Advent Candle, the candle of Hope. With the rest of the house in darkness and only that small purple candle lit, I've gazed into its flame and talked with my God, peace and contentment filling my heart as I watch the Light flicker against the dark.
In these golden moments, I feel happiness. I also feel complete freedom. Freedom from want, freedom from desire. I want nothing else in this moment; I am not in need. It's just all so perfect. Nothing to add, nothing to subtract. Nothing to do, nothing to undo. I imagine this is partly what Heaven might feel like, where we lack nothing and have no wants or needs.
May you enjoy plenty of golden moments this first week of Advent. Namaste.