CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Quick -- what does the cool side of the pillow have in common with finding money in a coat pocket? They both rank among the little things in life that bring us the most joy.Sure, the major milestones leave their marks on our lives. How often do they occur though? And what sustains us between those times?That's the accidental quest that writer Neil Pasricha set out on with his award-winning blog, http://1000awesomethings.com. "With so much sad news and bad news pouring down on us," Pasricha explains, "it's fun to stop for a minute and share a universal high five with the rest of humanity."The blog took on a life of its own, and pretty soon readers began sending in their own versions of "awesome things" to his website. From the smell of gasoline ... to cashiers opening up new checkout lanes ... to watching "The Price is Right" when you're home sick.Now, the blog has given way to "The Book of AWESOME," which recently came across my desk (thanks to my co-worker and good friend Dick Allowatt). I've got to say it's increased my awareness of those everyday things that bring me joy. And with increased awareness comes increased appreciation.Who knew that hitting a bunch of green lights in a row -- or punching the elevator button, only to hear the simultaneous "ding" signaling an elevator is already awaiting you -- could contribute to the quality of our lives if we just pay attention? Talk about a whole new way to ponder "pushing our buttons"!It doesn't count if you don't pay attention, though, or take these things for granted. Maybe you think they're all coincidences. And some of them may be. I find, however, when I acknowledge them in a playful and grateful way, more of them show up. Synchronicity is a beautiful thing.In case you think these things happen to other people, and not you, I invite you to try a little experiment. Take time this week to stand back and be an observer in your own life. Watch what happens. When you spot one of these "joy makers," make a note of it in a little pocket journal:
A cute puppy wagging its tail at you. Finally remembering a word -- or a name -- that's been on the tip of your tongue. Nailing a parallel parking attempt on the first try. Spotting your suitcase coming out of the luggage chute at the airport.
Making it through customs without any questions. Finding the TV remote. Getting a handwritten note in the mail.
These things are really happening around us all the time. If it doesn't feel like they're showing up in your life, it may be because that's not where you're putting your focus. It seems to be human nature to hurtle through the day, trying to "accomplish" as much as we can. The downside is that we often fail to notice those "goodies" that make the journey more fun along the way.You can even start before you get out of bed. If you wake up early and realize you have some extra time to sleep or ease into the day, that counts. This may give way to pulling up to a parking meter with extra time already on it. Woo-hoo!Sometimes when the momentum really gets going, you can find yourself on a roll. We're all composed of energy, and this is part of the vibrational frequency we're sending out into the world. Watch out -- that vending machine may just give you two items instead of one!Of course, our energies ebb and flow. It's just fun to play with this concept and watch what shows up. Things may not change overnight -- or in the areas we think they ought to. With consistent attention to the "goodies" that happen around us, though, chances are more and more of them will occur: Finding your keys. Scoring an airline row with an empty seat beside you. Picking up both a "Q" and a "U" at the same time in Scrabble. Cranking up the car radio and singing along. Driving through your old neighborhood and stopping to see the house you grew up in (a big thanks to the Mitchell family in Beckley for indulging me!). Remembering how fortunate we are to be right here, right now.So, in between those major milestones in your life (that wedding, birth of a child, graduation, promotion or vacation), stop to savor the thousands of awesome things that happen to you every day.If the spirit moves you, shoot me an email about ways this shows up in your life; and I'll look at sharing your insight with other readers. Who knows what we may discover? After all, the joy is in the journey.Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications company specializing in advertising, public relations, government relations and interactive marketing. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.