Discovering Joy – The Morning Wride

My morning wride today took me some places I did not expect to go. This is not an uncommon occurrence. In fact, these days, I find my morning wrides peppered with pleasant surprises. Today, I struggled a bit on the basketball court. For those who have not been reading, I stop along my route and shoot hoops for about 45 minutes, then continue on with my wride.

I noted my determination not to give up on the court. I suppose you could say I play some mind games with myself on the basketball court. Hey, I’m by myself (my daughter disdains the activity), so I create some phantom creativity to push me forward. I warm up for about ten minutes, then I run four, full court layups, ending with an around-the-back-through-the-legs layup. I must make at least two of the four or keep running.

Then I play a game of “Around the World” with myself. There are 13 spot up shots I must make within two shots or I must start over. If I make five shots in a row, I earn myself a third shot if necessary. This is where I struggled today, and the shot that hurt me was not the three pointer.

More important than the physical shooting of the shots was my determination to push myself and keep myself disciplined to the game. I could easily cheat. No one knows I’m even playing a game. I could excuse myself out of a missed shot and give myself another chance, but the integrity of disciplining myself to move forward and improve kept me true to my rules.

In fact, I made up a new rule that if I “lost” a game and had to start over, I must first run two full court layups as mentioned before. Then I decided to offer myself an opportunity out of the full court layups if I “swish” a three pointer. Getting a bit complicated now, but totally enjoyable. I love basketball.

Once I finally got past my shooting woes today, I went to the free throw line. Generally, I am an 80% free throw shooter. In fact, I will not leave the court until I shoot eight out of ten free throws. I struggled with this a bit today as well. Then, I got my focus back and promptly made eight in a row, missed one, then hit the last.

Then, of course, you never leave the court without your last shot being a perfect swish. I had a nice workout. The Florida heat, even at 8am had me drenched. Getting back on my bike and wriding with Ivy is always pleasant.

As I wrode, I looked at how I handle myself on the ball court and I recognize I want to be more in line with that determination in my writing and publishing life. Heck, in all my life. While I do “hang in there” and “persevere” in my life, I desire the willingness and the love of moving forward and pushing myself to move into the rest of my life.

While I do employ this, I do not believe I embrace the ‘joy’ of the pursuit like I do on the court. There is a joy available to us in anything we pursue. Slipping in the nanoseconds of recognitions that joy is available should be more prevalent. It does not take more than nanoseconds to glean joy from your activity. The endeavor does require that you keep yourself open to joy.

Personal experience – I noted today I often do not keep myself open to joy. Odd, isn’t it? Something as valuable and rewarding and pleasant and soothing as joy, and we do not stay vigilant to the next opportunity to experience it. Humans, we are a strange lot.

One last thing about my morning basketball escapades. Getting back on my bike and feeling the cool breeze felt nice. The next forty-five minutes of wriding allowed me to enjoy the efforts on the court even more. I tend to be a bit of a workaholic. As I complete tasks, I think I will take time to enjoy the breezes life has to offer each day.

I’m not talking idleness or laziness, just allowing myself to travel the paths I feel offer those cool breezes after some strenuous, fulfilling work. Too often I deny myself these pleasures. We shall see, eh? I’m staying open to joy and I’m looking forward to the cooldown breezes of forward motion created by efforts connected to what I wish to accomplish in life.

I hope you have goals and aspirations to help propel you forward. I certainly hope that if you do, you keep yourself open to the joys of your pursuit. When you allow the joys to pass you by, I feel you lose your passion for the endeavor. Anything worth doing well is worth doing with joy, right?

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