We entered the new year without one of our guiding lights of joy who would have turned 100 years old today – comedian, actor, animal activist, Betty White. Since her passing, I have wondered about Betty’s seemingly endless joy. She was obviously in good health for her age. Betty worked consistently up to the time of her death acting and raising animal welfare awareness.
Betty seemed to be self-aware of everything she did. She instinctively knew that marrying again after the death of her beloved soulmate and husband, Alan would not bring her joy. She obviously knew that she always needed to be doing things – activities she was enthusiastic about – acting and animals. I still wonder though if she wondered about the secret of longevity or if she marveled at her own.
Light, the lasting joy
I believe that harmony in mind, body, and spirit begins with pushing back the darkness with the light. I do not mean pushing down the darkness and ignoring it, but that the light is a ‘lamp for our feet’ (Psalm 119:105). I do not know if Betty White was a person of any religious faith. Does it matter? Faith is a personal choice.
Joy has been elusive for me these past weeks even though I am a person of faith. Is it the winter doldrums? Is it being in lockdown because of the coronavirus variant pandemic? Is it because I am weary of my perfectionist tendencies in an imperfect world, work, or wondering of my own potential longevity? All of which is out of my control, right?
We need better skills not more products or pills to provide long lasting joy. Although, I am not discounting those with diagnosed mental disorders that may require medication to feel righted in their everyday lives for I am one of those people. Yet, there is more to life than just surviving during the day.
Dalai Lama XIV stated, “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday, and the other is called tomorrow. Do today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.”
There are 1,440 minutes in a day.
How many minutes are being spent eating and sleeping?
How many minutes are spent scrolling social media or watching television?
How many minutes are reading an article, a work project, or a book?
How many minutes are exercising?
How many minutes are working at a job?
Thankfully, I work remotely and for those who don’t – how many minutes does it take in their daily commute?
How many minutes are interacting with family and friends either in-person or electronically?
How many minutes are playing or walking with pets?
1,440 minutes in a day does not sound like many minutes after answering the questions on basic daily activities. Yet, loneliness abounds even on the busiest days. I wonder if Betty White was ever lonely even on her busiest days.
We can piece joy moments together like taking steps on walk outside in nature or like a puzzle sprawled out on the dining room table. We can find joy in others and in activities, but what skills do we need to find joy within ourselves? Is it serving others? Betty did that with her animal awareness activism and bringing her precious brand of comedy to her acting.
It used to be said at least in the church environment that we are to serve others with our time, talents, and treasures. How many of those do I have? How can I best utilize what I have and squeeze them into 1,440 minutes? I am not being irritable about the question. I am just asking for suggestions sake. Or am I a bit bitter?
The perfectionist and planner-personality in me wants to dwell on this time-talents-treasures thought some more. It would mean however using up precious minutes, and it would also most assuredly, involve yesterday as I would need to revisit what obviously did not work for me then. It would also mean involving tomorrow because I would most assuredly be color-coding the minutes into joyful categories.
As I stated my last blog post, spirituality is a tricky thing. Harmony in mind and body is tricky too when we think about the number of minutes we have in a day. Have I depressed you enough with this post yet? I hope not. I want you to take 3 precious minutes of your day today and do the following:
1. Wish Betty White a happy 100th birthday in heaven today. Rest in peace, dear Betty. (Time)
2. Do one thing you are good at that brings you joy. (Talent)
3. Make a financial contribution today even if it is $5 to an animal rescue in her honor. (Treasure)
Self-awareness is self-care. Betty White was a light, a lasting joy from which we all can learn the skills we need for joy. I will piece them together today to believe, love, and to live.
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