Daily Delight Project

Finding Delight Is Harder Than I Thought

May 31, 2024

Gelato is delightful

Looking for delight is harder than you might think.

For one thing, I had to decide what a delight actually was. The dictionary defines it as an extreme pleasure or satisfaction, a joy. In my mind, it’s different from a simple pleasure—it has to cause a certain type of feeling, a sudden lifting of my spirits. Honestly, this doesn’t happen every day. Even though I tried to look for delights every day, I didn’t actually succeed in finding them as often as I’d hoped or expected to.

There are likely several reasons for this. Awareness is one of them—in the bustling round of daily life, far too often I operate on auto-pilot, not noticing all the delights around me, just trying to get through the day’s to-do list. I also think that the dumpster fire of the past few years has had a numbing effect on my ability to notice joyful things. I’ve developed a shield to protect my emotions from being triggered. While that’s helped me cope through stress and sadness, it’s also numbed my ability to feel delight.

I chose to take pictures of my daily delights, and that added another level of difficulty. A couple of times, I wasn’t able to snap a photo of things that delighted me (a tiny green frog in our mailbox, a cardinal taking a bath in the birdbath).

What I did find and post about (full posts on Instagram and Facebook):

  • The sweet ritual I have with my dog when I come home
  • The growth of a pineapple on our lanai
  • Choosing a new novel to read
  • Watching Tank run around like a youngster after his bath
  • Rewatching a favorite TV show (Brooklyn 99)
  • Our gardenia bush blooming
  • Picking up library holds
  • Eating at a fancy steakhouse, using a gift card from our son
  • A backyard full of butterflies
  • Beating the squirrels to ripe tomatoes
  • Eating dessert first
  • The gift of a framed cross stitch project

I’m going to continue to look for delight. Ross Gay, the inspiration for the Daily Delight Project, wrote mini essays about his delights, so I think I might try that instead. Hopefully, as I keep practicing, finding delight will become easier and more frequent. Practice makes perfect!

What delight have you discovered lately?

Daily Delight Project

Welcome to the Daily Delight Project

May 03, 2024

A delight
Photo by caleb weiner on Unsplash

You might have noticed that over the last year+ I’ve been struggling with a lot of challenging, sorrowful events and taking you all right along with me into the emotional depths. Even though this blog is intended to be a be a bright spot on the internet, a place you can go to read about more positive aspects of life, I also want to be honest and real about how my life plays out. I don’t want to just give you the highlight reel, or indulge in toxic positivity. I’ve tried to honestly share my feelings and experiences, to normalize the fact that life does hold sorrow and that it’s completely fine to feel that pain and grief.

But while I continue to feel all the feelings, I think it’s also time to consciously and more frequently focus on something besides dealing with my heavy and confused emotions. (And aren’t you glad to hear that?!)

Enter the Daily Delight Project (DDP).

How the Daily Delight Project came about

A few years ago, I read poet Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights, full of his beautiful little essays about things which delighted him. Since then, I’ve wanted to do something similar, but you know, Life Happened. And kept happening.

But now I feel ready to give it a try. I’m starting with just jotting a few lines in my journal or planner, and I also plan to snap photos with my phone and post them on Instagram/Facebook. I’m shooting for every day in May, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t manage that. (Check out my first few posts here.)

One thing I’ve found already is that first, I have to deliberately look for a possible delight. This makes me pay more attention to my surroundings and what’s happening around me, instead of retreating into myself and ruminating. Once I’ve noticed something, I have to allow it to delight me—in other words, I have to do more than just notice, I have to look deeper and think about what I’m seeing.

For example, when I’m outside, I might glance up and notice the white puffy clouds against the deep blue sky. If I really pay attention, I do feel delight at their beauty—I really love those puffy clouds! But I don’t always take the time to enjoy them.

At first, this has felt awkward and kind of weird. But I’m hopeful that the more I do it, the more delight I’ll feel. As Ross Gay wrote, “It didn’t take me long to learn that the discipline or practice of writing these essays occasioned a kind of delight radar. Or maybe it was more like the development of a delight muscle. Something that implies that the more you study delight, the more delight there is to study.” 

How you can be a part of the DDP

Would you like to join me in the Daily Delight Project?

Start by simply noticing what delights you. You may want to jot your daily delight in a notebook or on your calendar. You don’t need to do anything else to benefit, but if you want to share your delights with others, you might:

Text a friend.

Share a post on Facebook.

Post on Instagram—use the hashtag #dailydelight2024 and tag me (@kathyjohn335) so I can see your posts.

Share a few of your daily delights in the comments section below.

Email me with your daily delights at kathyjohn335[at]gmail[dot]com. I would absolutely love to hear about them!

I hope you’ll join me and share what you find delightful!