23rd July 2021

Author of the book ‘Joyful | The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness’, Ingrid Fetell Lee has become somewhat of an authority on the topic of joy, how we experience it and what we can do to incorporate it into our everyday.

After writing about how busy had snuck back up on us in All Stitched Up! issue #290, a recent essay Ingrid wrote entitled ‘The Secret to Finding More Joy in Less Time’ piqued our interest.

Ingrid unpacked the joy she was experiencing on a twice-weekly basis as she, her husband and young son spend an hour harvesting produce that is part of their subscription to a local Community Supported Agriculture. After paying a subscription for the growing season, they get a box containing a sample of fresh produce, which in their case, they get to harvest themselves.

It is but two hours out of their week, yet the abundance of joy that’s arisen from their subscription far outweighs the time invested. After considering the affect it’s had, Ingrid realised a fundamental truth about joy; ‘not all moments are created equal (and whilst) time clicks away in steady increments of seconds, minutes and hours, the way we remember it is much more variable.

As our brains don’t just count the moments we experience, but rather try to make sense of them, some are assigned a greater importance, and therefore a greater share of our memory. That is why when we look back, we tend to view significant moments in what could be described as a highlights reel.  

It is, therefore, the highlights reel that determines how we feel about our week, not the average of everything we’ve experienced.

As a result, Ingrid challenges the idea that in order to experience more joy we need to be mindful and present in every moment because as she so aptly questioned, ‘Is it really possible to be mindful of every minute?’. But rather, we should accept that some moments matter more than others and to those we ensure mindful and present are how we approach them.

Much of our joy comes from our time with needle and thread and although there will be weeks when we will devote but a few of the 168 hours available to this pursuit, we were encouraged by Ingrid’s musings as we realised that if we ensure we’re mindful of each push and pull of needle and thread through fabric, our highlights reel will always be filled with the joy of needlework. 

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