The Development of the Delight Muscle: Slice of Life 6/31 #sol20

Every day for a year, Ross Gay wrote an essay about something he delighted in. (Whenever I feel fussy about slicing for 31 days in a row, I’m going to think of Gay, essentially slicing for 365 days in a row!) At the beginning of the collection of short essays that resulted from his project, Gay writes: “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.”

The more you study delight, the more delight there is to study. How wonderful to imagine delight as a muscle that we can develop through practice and use!

Here are a few reliable sources of delight for me:

  • latte art
  • a lap of cats
  • front doors painted bright yellow
  • cats giving themselves puffy tails when they play
  • spotting wildlife on my drive to work
  • when the library has the obscure book I’m looking for
  • eavesdropping on conversations
  • train stations
  • getting packages in the mail
  • when someone suggests pizza on a night I really didn’t want to cook
  • leftovers
  • all our family in-jokes
  • sunrises and sunsets over the Great Plains
  • pit bull sightings
  • when a new recipe is a keeper
  • waking up to find lots of comments on my blog
  • Internet rabbit holes (y’all, there’s a Latte Art Championship!)
  • when the very first slice I read in the morning gives me an idea for my own slice!

What are your reliable sources of delight? And thanks to Darin Johnston at The Life of a Conflicted Teacher for today’s topic.






9 responses to “The Development of the Delight Muscle: Slice of Life 6/31 #sol20”

  1. Juliana Ellington Avatar
    Juliana Ellington

    I love this idea: building one’s delight muscle! All of the cat photos that you text me are part of my delight list. Actually, your texts are a source of steady delight for me lol!! I’m so glad you included ‘family inside-jokes’.

  2. Amanda Potts Avatar

    This is great. I love this line: “a delight muscle. Something that implies that the more you study delight, the more delight there is to study” and I love love love your list of delights. I am *definitely* going to make my own list. Ooh – I’m already delighted!

  3. arjeha Avatar

    Love this. So often we are quick to look at all that is wrong in our lives and end up feeling depressed. There is so much delight in everyday living. Thinking of delight as a muscle that can be developed is bound to make us enjoy what we have. I may just have to steal this idea for a future post. Yes to lap cats!

  4. evarkaplan Avatar

    First, thank you Elizabeth for being a “welcome wagoner” and commenting on my blog. I’m happy to be able to delight you as you did me! (“waking up to find lots of comments on my blog!”) I love that you provided the book that inspired your idea to create a list of delights. How wonderful to start your day thinking about what delights you! (You also taught me a new word that I’ve never come across before, dirigible!) Hope your day is filled with delights!

  5. BeReal81 Avatar

    I delight in the idea of a ‘delight muscle’. I want to add to it a ‘joy muscle’ and a ‘patience muscle’. You changed my day with this blog as I will strive to build my muscles today.

  6. Terje Avatar

    Yes, developing the delight muscle is important for well-being and happiness. I would say that now when things tend to turn grim because of the virus, the delights become even more valuable than before. Yellow doors, pancakes in mail and obscure books are interesting finds on your list.

  7. hsatlas Avatar

    What an uplifting post. I share in some of your delights – a lap of cats, pizza night, and looking forward to comments on my blog. What a concept – delight as a muscle. I hope to flex it more. Thanks.

  8. Susan Kennedy Avatar

    A good focus for today.

  9. Trina Avatar

    Oh, I love knowing about your delights! I currently have this book from the library; I haven’t read it yet. Did you listen to the This American Life about that topic?

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