I’ve learned to think about dusk in a new way. It’s called the “Magic Hour” — the hour right before the sun sets, when daylight turns to twilight.
My wife learned about the Magic Hour during The Creative Joy retreat, held last week in Garrison, NY. According to retreat co-leader Tracey Clark, “Learning to see the beauty around us is the first step in finding our joy. By observing the world—color, space, shadow and light—we are able to create and carry a perspective that is rooted in appreciation and gratitude.”
The picture above from my hotel in Nags Heads, NC reflects the qualities of color, space, shadow and light that I observed when using the perspective of the Magic Hour. I will say that it was definitely a joyful experience to look at the world through a new perspective — one that is consistent with both my mindfulness practice, and the core principles of moodtraining.
Even after a prolonged day at the office on Friday, which cut into my eagerly anticipated long-weekend on the Outer Banks, I felt an appreciable uplift in my mood not only by being at the beach, but by deliberately learning to look at ordinary things in a new way. For me, this was a real-life example of how we can optimize our mood, anytime and anywhere.
From a scientific perspective, positive emotions like happiness, satisfaction with life, appreciation, and gratitude, not only feel good emotionally, they can also protect cardiovascular health according to new research at Harvard. Some of the physical health benefits of positive emotions appear to be partly explained by a number of important biological markers, including lower blood pressure, better lipid (blood fat) profiles, and normal body weight, as well as adequate sleep.
If you be will taking any vacation this summer — or even if you plan to stay home — be on the lookout for the Magic Hour! You may be surprised to find how easy it is to boost your mood simply by looking at the same things in a different way — a way of conscious attention, keen observation, creativity, and joy. What will YOU notice that brightens your day, and your mood?
From a meditation perspective, call it part of your daily mindfulness practice! Being in the moment always counts, wherever you are.