Cultivating Joy

From the Harmony Habit Tip Archives (November 2011):

“And if not now, when?”
~ Hillel the Elder (c. 60 BC-10 AD)



girl with shirtMy dear friend Pat dropped in the other day to pick something up. When I opened the door, she looked surprised. “Where are you going?” she asked. “Nowhere,” I said, “I’m working from home all day today… why?” “You’ve got such fancy earrings on!” Pat said, reaching out to touch the dangly, rhinestone and pearl pair I’d forgotten I was wearing.

“Oh, these!” I said laughing, “I’ve taken to dressing up a bit more these days, even if I’m the only one who sees me. I mean, ‘If not now, when’?!”

“Exactly!” Pat proclaimed! “What are we waiting for?!” She then recounted numerous items she had hanging in her closet, waiting for “a special occasion” to be worn. “Wear them anyway!” I laughed, “Now’s as good a time as any!”

# # #

Ok, I admit it. I am getting older, which might explain my more recent inclination. Even still, “If not now, when?” is a question we can ask ourselves at any age – about almost anything we might be putting off doing.

For instance, if you wish to:

•Have more fun
•Improve a relationship
•Spend more time with your kids
•Offer that apology
•Forgive an individual
•Create better life balance
•Volunteer at the soup kitchen
•Write that long over due letter to a friend or parent
•Take that road trip
•Have a spa day
•Get those season tickets
•Make a charitable contribution
•Develop a hobby

What’s stopping you?

Honestly, isn’t now quite possibly as good as time as any?

As the late Richard Carlson once wrote: “Your inbox is never going to be empty!” Don’t let that never ending to-do list distract you. Instead, when a great idea pops into your head, and you find yourself yet again postponing joy, ask yourself : “Really… What am I waiting for?!”


This week’s practice:

Notice the things you put off doing that you know would create more harmony or happiness in your life. What explanations (i.e. excuses) do you most commonly use? “Too much to do?” “Too little time?” Be honest – is it really not timely – or have you developed a habit of overlooking what just may matter most to you – and to others?

Once you’re clear about your reasoning, have a debate with yourself. See if you can pay greater attention to the more playful voice inside you that’s likely vying for equal time! Then, no more excuses – just do it!

“If not now, when?!”

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