Scan for Joy

1024 205 Augusta Kantra

Here’s a thought I’d like to share…

Here is a story from Pema Chodron’s book “The Places That Scare You”:

Once, a cook at Gampo Abbey was feeling very unhappy. Like most of us, she kept feeding the gloom with her actions and her thoughts; hour by hour her mood was getting darker. She decided to try to ventilate her escalating emotions by baking chocolate chip cookies. Her plan backfired, however, she burned them all to a crisp! At that point, she simply stuffed the burned cookies into her pockets and went out for a walk. She trudged along the dirt road, her head hanging down and her mind burning with resentment. She was saying to herself, “So where’s all the beauty and magic I keep hearing about?” 

At that moment she looked up. There walking toward her was a little fox. Her mind stopped and she held her breath and watched. The fox sat down right in front of her, gazing up expectantly. She reached into her pockets and pulled out some cookies. The fox ate them and slowly trotted away. 

She told this story to all of us at the abbey, saying, “I learned today that life is very precious. Even when we’re determined to block the magic, it will get through and wake us up. That little fox taught me that no matter how shut down we get, we can always look outside our cocoon and connect with joy.”

The practice of connecting with joy is one that can sound trite. But it is actually a very courageous thing to do. Our habit is to scan for what’s wrong, what needs to be fixed or changed, or as a friend of mine said today, “…defend our bad mood.” What would it be like to, instead, scan for happiness? It doesn’t negate those things that are difficult, but it infuses them with the “magic” of the moment.

Right now, as I sit at my computer writing this, I can scan for happiness…There are my beaded bracelets that lay next to my keyboard and they were loving gifts from friends; my cool cup that is full of ice water and produces no condensate on my desk; there’s a tiny lucky elephant carving that makes me smile; both my pups are at my feet; my phone just lit up with a text from my sister (whose birthday is today!); my box of “Coming Back Coins” is full of tokens that I love to give. Oh, the list goes on and on.

But it would be easy for me to not notice those things, to skip over those things and focus only on the mess that is on my desk. And the mess is there, no doubt. But so is the happiness. Now, by scanning for it, I’ve added happiness to the mess. Magic and mess – yep, sometimes it’s like that.

Wishing you the magic of connecting with ordinary moments,



Thanks for all your input. I love hearing from you!  Feel free to reply with comments, questions, or feedback. It comes directly to my email address, and I read each one.


Augusta Kantra

All stories by: Augusta Kantra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Call Now Button