THE COUNSELOR'S CORNER: The joy in life

By Fred Cavaiani

This past weekend was a weekend of joy. My wife and I spent it with our two daughters, son-in-law and six grandchildren at the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth. What joy. Watching grandchildren from age 11 to 3 years old was an experience of pure pleasure. To see the happiness, the creativity and the exuberance in these children over such simple things uplifted me. I looked at everything in a different manner and realized as I looked at all the other people there that there is joy everywhere if we simply look for it. I was inspired to try to smile at every person I saw. That smile at every housekeeper and every waiter and waitress and every person that passed me brought back smiles very quickly. I began to realize that everyone is looking to experience something joyful and positive.

When my grandchildren run to hug me and smile and say "Hi Grandpa" I am taken to a higher plane of existence. Whatever I was feeling before, I am now feeling pure joy and enthusiasm.

Pure joy and enthusiasm for life is deeply embedded in each of us. To bring this out we need help. Listening to a waitress talk to us in the Bavarian Lodge as we had our chicken dinner helped her tell us about her job and her past with warmth and friendliness. Watching the enthusiasm of six grandchildren connecting with each other may have been a bit "noisy" to some but I think most of the patrons looked at our table with smiles and admiration. Sitting there with our two wonderful daughters and our son-in-law mesmerized in talking with them and with the grandchildren was an experience of family and fellowship. Looking at my wife talking reminded me of all the sacrifices she had made for the kids over so many years. I could see that my two daughters are following in the same tradition as is my son-in-law. At my age I realized what a joy and what energy it took in raising our children. I no longer have the undaunted energy my daughters and grandchildren have but I do have the wisdom to learn from them.

We are to experience joy in this life. It is not difficult. We simply need to look and experience what is around us. Each moment there is something to be grateful for. In everything we see and in everyone we see and experience there is love present. To experience this joy I need to pay attention to what is happening in this moment and who is present with me in this moment. Being with enthusiastic grandchildren for a couple of days at a Lodge filled with games and swimming pools and people, there is joyous energy all around. I couldn't help but pay attention to this. I was forced to notice this. Yet this energy, joy and enthusiasm is all around me throughout each moment of the day. I simply need to pause and look carefully and experience the present moment. But I need to make the effort to do this and pay attention.

Most of us can find it difficult to pay attention to the energy and joy in the present moment. When we become grateful for the present moment we see things very differently. Gratitude opens us up to see the goodness and joy in everything and everyone. Life is filled with the energy of God. Life is filled with the Love of God. When we forget this we can easily become discouraged and distracted from what is right before our eyes. We can become critical and negative. We can look at the dark side of life and refuse to see the brightness, the light, the joy and the goodness and enthusiasm which is all around us. Look carefully. Look with gratitude. You will see. You will experience the joy. It is all around you. It is within you. Be still and reflective and you will find it.

My grandchildren teach me so much. My children have taught me so much. My son in law teaches me so much. My wife teaches me so very much. This "very much" is that there is joy and love in every moment of life. The enthusiasm and joy in others will push all of us in a positive direction. But we all need to pay attention and experience what is right in front of us in each moment of life.

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Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage & family therapist and psychotherapist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. He is also on staff at Capuchin Retreat Center in Washington, MI. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com

Published: Tue, Feb 28, 2017

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