Yesterday was my daughter’s graduation party. It was an interesting weekend that led to yesterday. Our dog of 14 years was ailing quickly and passed away at about 7am yesterday; the same day as the party. We cried together as a family, grieved for a moment and then set aside the grieving process to prepare for the celebration of our daughter’s accomplishment.

During the party some people asked about Romeo (our dog). We told them what happened and they asked how we were able to still host the party. For me, it’s about being present in whatever situation I find myself. In grief or celebration; be present. When creativity or mundane tasks; be present. In a busy urban landscape or surrounded by forest; be present.

Not only be present, but be absorbed by, held captive in whatever I am doing. The French calls this Joie de vivre which translates as a person who is completely engrossed in the business of being alive.

Life is short. I want to be all in whenever I have opportunity. Writing this post, I’m engaged right here. Nothing else matters. My family is bustling around me with chatter; but I’m right here because this is where I am doing the business of being alive.

There is no trick to it. No magic to be fully engaged and fully alive. It does take discipline though. I know, discipline is not the word people want to hear. Most of the time we want to live as we please, moving from one thing to another being entertained. But, that’s not a fulfilling life.

Being completely engrossed in the business of being alive requires the discipline of being connected to whoever and whatever is in front of me. When Romeo passed away, I was fully engrossed in the business of grieving. For that period of time, that’s where all of my attention was. When we needed to shift gears, I had built the discipline to set aside grief and fully embrace the celebration of my daughter.

Joie de vivre is not about being happy all the time or only feeling happiness. Joie de vivre is about being fully present in the situation and with the people in front of you. The joy of living is not about happiness only. It is about embracing whatever life offers in the moment.

How are you completely engrossed with the business of living?

What do you choose to do or see to be fully present with the person or situation in front of you?

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