The Simplicity of Joy

Bozo & Dipsy_Caribbean Dogs

We had the pleasure of staying at the Heritage Inn on the British Virgin Island of Tortola a few years ago. And for those two weeks, we became a hit with the owner’s dogs, Bozo and Dipsy; and they, in turn, became a hit with us.

A routine in our relationship with the dogs quickly developed. Each morning as Bill and I made breakfast, our two canine friends quietly appeared on the deck, breathing in the aroma of scrambled eggs and oatmeal coming from our little kitchen. It must have been the clanking of the dishes—or maybe it was simply the smell of our hot breakfast food—that signaled to them it was time to visit the nice Midwest couple in room #8.

The daily ritual

Like clockwork, they’d show up and chill just on the other side of our screen door. Bozo and Dipsy would watch our every move with intense focus, in the most polite and respectful manner. They wouldn’t make a sound or bother us or interrupt our cooking procedure. Sometimes we’d pretend for a moment not to know they were there so that we could slyly watch them out of the corners of our eyes. Those sweet dogs melted our hearts!

We’d always go out on the deck to eat our breakfast, enjoying the view across the bay which looked out toward St. Thomas. The dogs stayed and watched us, barely blinking an eye. We’d talk to them and tell them our plans for the day and wondered if they had any input. Usually they just smiled back.

When we left for the afternoon to explore the island, the dogs walked us to our car as a ceremonial send-off. When we came home, they’d saunter over to the car to greet us and then walk us back to our room. Once again they’d relax on our deck with us as we enjoyed happy hour. And we always gave them hugs before heading off to bed.

If we hung around the Inn during the day, we’d often find the dogs taking refuge from the hot Caribbean sun underneath our car. See the black grease patch on the top of Bozo’s head in the photo above?

Caribbean Dogs Under Car

Magic on the last day of vacation

The best was the final day. We had to set the alarm for 4:00 a.m. to catch our flight off the island. The sky was pitch black and sprinkled with stars. The moon was perfectly round and full, glowing over the island and calm sea like a gigantic floodlight illuminating the earth.

It was so quiet and still that it seemed like the entire island was still asleep. So before showering or getting ready, we wanted to grab this opportunity. Bill and I came out of our room and quietly tip-toed in our bare feet toward the edge of the hill, holding hands, to revel in this moment.

Without saying a word to each other, we both knew that we needed time to purposefully say “thank you” and “good-bye” to this place that had become a second home to us in a matter of 14 days (did you know we actually won tickets for this trip? Check it out here).

And as we stood in total silence and reverence of nature’s wonder, off in the distance we heard a faint jingle. You know, the kind where you know your dog is on his way to see you. It became a double jingle and got louder and closer. Then Bozo and Dipsy emerged out of the darkness and were magically at our feet, leaning their bodies against us.

How did they know? How did they hear us? And most importantly, what were they doing awake at this hour?

Our hearts were overjoyed as our special Caribbean buddies peacefully rested on the grass below us. They weren’t asking for anything and didn’t even require being acknowledged. They just wanted to be with us to bid us farewell and share in this special moment.

The essence of true joy

So with our arms around each other, Bill and I gazed at the full moon and the shimmery trail of diamonds it left in the bay. Together, all four of us experienced the simplicity of joy in the moment.

Joy doesn’t have to be about activity, accomplishment, or achievement. Rather, it can be about the smell of breakfast, quiet time chilling together, escorting a friend to their car, or just “being there” for each other to marvel at the moon.

Ahhh…the simplicity of joy. I like it. It is truly effortless.

Where do you notice this type of joy showing up in your life?

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9 Responses to “The Simplicity of Joy”

  • Bill says:

    Wow – even though it was more than 4 years ago, I can still see/feel the experience as if it was yesterday!

    But the best part is that we get to see Bozo and Dipsy again this winter when we visit the island of Tortola on our upcoming Caribbean cruise!!

  • Maryse says:

    Joy shows up all the time; It’s just a question of paying attention. Staying warm in the car while filling the tank in subzero temperatures; the aroma of split pea soup; a great book to read, etc.
    Thanks for this post!

  • Sharon says:

    I love Bozo and Dipsy!! what an awesome story! Being a dog lover, I truly believe in their spirit, knowledge and intuitions……………. They knew you two were goooood people…..they will love to see you again and they will remember you! I always trust the judgment of an animal…pure gut insight on their part. Michelle, I am learning that joy is showing up all of the time, because of you and your blog and your loving heart….I have begun to open up my heart and eyes in a way that I never thought possible……….so expansive and sooooo awesome and fun! Right now, in the present, joy shows up for me as I type this in my Joe Boxer Pj’s and have a beautiful 22 pound Maine Coon white “cat”/human named Tundra (my baby boy!!) on my lap. My joy is his joy….his purring and his comfort from a world that was cruel to him at one time and we rescued him. The trust took awhile to come for him, as it does for humans that have been wounded….but, it came and it is so joyful to me and to Brent. After some things I have been through in the past with losing a special dog, I never ever thought I would be able to open up my heart again and “let an animal back in”………..but this buddy is etched in stone in my heart…along with his “sister” Pixie, of course! Joy does come in many many forms!! Tundra is my joy! xoxo Sharon

  • Like you, I believe that joy is in moments when we stop to actually acknowledge the life that’s happening in and around us. What a great story, Michelle! I loved reading about it, and felt my own heart opening to those dogs!
    Happy holidays!

  • WOW!!! SUPER!!!

    We are all looking forward to seeing you!! I am trying to share with you the Joyous smiles of the puppies when they heard of your return…stay tuned!


  • Jane says:

    Oh, what a lovely story for us all!! Upon reading, my smile grew and then when you told where Bozo and Dipsy were leaning their bodies against you, the tears came. My grandkids 1,3 and 4 years just left after 3 weeks from out of town. At the airport each one of them said good-bye like the dogs. The 1 and 3 year olds in turn clung to my neck quietly for a long time in a stillness counter to their usual non-stop movement. The 4 year old hugged me close as well in silence and said softly, “I’ll miss you Grandma”.

  • Hi! I just stumbled across your blog, and I will be reading! I am a 25 y/o raw vegan graduate student (clinical social work, mental health therapy) with a progressive neurological disease. I preach positivity in my blog to my readers along with the raw vegan diet to combat disease. It has kept me going with such a painful condition.

    Happy 2010!

    <3 Maria

  • Hi everyone!

    LOVE hearing about the joy in all of your lives. From the aroma of split pea soup, to ‘Tundra’ the cat/human, to the embrace from a grandchild. Ahhh…joy is all around us!

    And welcome, Maryse and Maria! Wonderful to have your presence and light here. I’m going to check out your blogs now. :)

    Wishing an abundance of joy to all of you,

  • Sharon says:

    hey Michelle! Just came back to this blog….to add a bit to it…I just came back from my trip to home…and as you know, my sister’s 16 year old dog, Lena, has “been in hospice” for a year. She waited for me to come back and see her …I got to hold her and talk with her and reminisce…I felt her frail body relax as I spoke quietly into her ear and kiss her face. An hour later, she was gone. Lena, the wiener dog waited for Aunt Sharon and nobody can tell us they don’t know exactly what they are doing!! love you! Sharon

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

The Parent Company

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