Take Me Out To The Ball Game? Finding Joy in Unexpected Places

Yesterday, I found myself on a train zooming down the coast to downtown San Diego. My niece and her family were with me, visiting from back east, and we were headed to dinner and a baseball game.

Wait! A baseball game? To say that competitive sports aren’t a big part of my life is an understatement, but it was my nephew Branden’s birthday and I wanted him to enjoy his day. As it turned out, I had as much fun as he did.

Go with the Flow
As we headed down to the ballpark, I tried to find directions to the restaurant from the train station – but I couldn’t get cell service. Branden wasn’t worried. “If you stress about it, it will block you! Just go with the flow, Uncle James, and everything will turn out right.”

“Who’s the spiritual teacher now?” I thought to myself.

Sure enough, just minutes after stepping off the train, we turned a corner and there was the restaurant – no Google Maps required!

We had a wonderful dinner and headed to the stadium. The kids followed the team and had all kinds of information to share that made the game come to life. I found myself immersed in the stories of the players. When there wasn’t action on the field, they took in the sights – the people, food vendors, and all the stadium activity. Some people think that baseball games are slow and long, but the kids found something to entertain them at every turn. Seeing the event though their eyes reinforced the fact that there’s joy to be found in every moment if you’re present and open to it.

The Key To Happiness
In last week’s blog, I talked about declaring your spiritual independence – which comes down to letting go of fear and prioritizing your own wisdom and intuition over the opinions of others. Embracing this concept is critical to living your best life – but it’s only half of the equation!

Letting go of fear and the need to please others opens up space in your life. What you fill that space with is up to you – but your choice is the key to happiness and fulfillment.

Finding Joy in the Present Moment
As I wrapped up my blog last Friday, I was already thinking about how I’d present the idea of unlocking joy and experiencing life’s simple pleasures this week. And that’s when my house guests arrived.

I’d been looking forward to the arrival of my niece, her husband and their three children for weeks, and it turns out the children had a lot to teach me about this topic.

I couldn’t have asked for a better example of finding joy in simple things. As the kids explored my neighborhood and splashed in the pool, they were fully immersed in each moment. Smiling and laughing, their energy was infectious, and I realized they were an example to me – and all of us.

It’s no secret that children are the best teachers when it comes to living in the moment. If you feel like you’d benefit from more fun in your life, try these tips to channel your own joyful inner child:

  • Think outside of the box. Say yes to an activity that’s outside your comfort zone. Take a pottery class, go to a ball game, or take a road trip to somewhere you’ve never thought of going. Immerse yourself and see what happens.
  • Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty or your hair wet. When the kids were playing in the garden or swimming in the pool, the last thing they were thinking about was how they looked or getting their clothes dirty. It made me realize that as adults, we worry too much about appearances, and not enough about having fun.
  • Look for something to laugh about. Laughter is infectious! It makes you feel better and raises the spirits of everyone around you.
  • Let go of worries. Most things we worry about never happen – so why waste time stressing. Like Branden says, “Go with the flow!”
  • Find the wonder. Look at life through the eyes of a child. Examine the intricate structure of a flower as if you’ve never seen one before. Watch the sun set or go outside to look at the stars. There’s so much beauty around you.

This summer, take your cue from the children in your life. Look for the fun and the beauty in the world around you. Be friendly and curious – and most of all, go with the flow!

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