If it rains, put your ducky suit on and find some puddles. I don`t care how old you are! Most kids can easily lock into joy. After all, their needs are likely met, and the worst problem of the day might be the mound of broccoli on their dinner plates. If they’re lucky enough, they have parents who let them discover the world around them and explore their curious minds. These kids tumble into bed each night exhausted from a full day of playing hard. They aren’t thinking about how happy they are when their little eyes slam shut, they just are.
But what about us grown-ups? How do we experience joy? By that I mean, regularly enough for it to increase the serotonin levels in our brain so the slippery slope can’t gang up on us. Are we resilient enough to find that elusive happiness? With the many demands for our time, energy and resources, are we dedicating time to the important task of following our bliss?
Our friend Miriam Webster defines joy this way:
- the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: DELIGHT
- the expression or exhibition of such emotion : GAIETY
- a state of happiness or felicity : BLISS
- a source or cause of delight
A happy and satisfied life is about discovering joy, all the delight, gaiety, bliss and satisfaction possible. I think Miriam did a good job defining the word joy, but really, it’s more of a feeling than a word. How would one put words to that feeling? Each of us could have a go at describing what joy feels like. We can`t help but raise our vibration by that simple act.
In 2015, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu spent a week together in Dharamsala in “deep dialogue and playful laughter”. Besides celebrating the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday, they wanted to produce a book on how to find joy in the face of life’s challenges and create “lasting happiness in a changing world” With the help of Douglas Abrams, the collaboration produced THE BOOK OF JOY, a sharing of wisdom gained from two lives full of extreme hardship and profound friendship, two faiths coming together for the benefit of humanity. This book is a remarkable gift.
Here is their Eight Pillars of Joy:
- Perspective: There are Many Different Angles
- Humility: I Tried to Look Humble and Modest
- Humour: Laughter, Joking Is Much Better Acceptance
- Acceptance: The Only Place Where Change Can Begin
- Forgiveness: Freeing Ourselves from the Past
- Gratitude: I Am Fortunate to Be Alive
- Compassion: Something We Want to Become
- Generosity: We Are Filled with Joy
This is the deep life’s work of two illuminated individuals. The points ask us to review our own values, motives and state of mind. They are values to grow into and embrace, slowly, as we can. Mastery of any one would be amazing enough.
As the rate of change speeds up around the world, and society becomes more splintered, there has never been a more critical time to look inward. Spending our days hooked into the dreadful news of global events is crazy-making and fear-inducing. But we are not helpless. The collective conscience, now engaged in fear and sometimes panic, can shift focus away from political, environmental, and financial crises to create a movement for change that would swing the pendulum. This movement begins with each of us. Although we must stay informed, a step back would provide more balanced perspective, and from that, perhaps an opening for inspired action.
It`s sometimes hard to find any light in our crazy lives, but it is possible. I found my joy again after sitting quietly, just resting, for a long time. Finally an inspiration came and a long-held dream stood right before me. It came with force, a fully formed concept with a blast of momentum that startled me. There it was, a long held desire to start a blog. I wanted to write and share some bites of my life, hopeful others might find my words worthwhile, helpful, even inspiring. This was how I could bring some light to the world.
What we do happily and easily is where joy lives, yet we often devalue our gifts. Go there. You don’t have to quit your job, your spouse, or go on a pilgrimage. Just carve out some unfettered time for yourself. The outside world may not even notice what you are up to, and really, it’s a personal journey anyway. Imagine the joy of nestling into your gift.
Now I look for fun. I want to laugh, to notice snow on the hydrangea blossoms, and appreciate the last tomato gallantly try to ripen in the cool fall days. I want to wake up excited for a brand new day, to connect, to re-enter life and give back.
The day I knew in my heart my dream was possible and turned in that direction, my path miraculously widened. Some days I waver off to one side or other, but not for long, and not nearly as far as I used to. Joy hovers, ready to draw me back and replant the smile on my face.
There is likely a puddle nearby, so go have some fun. Be a kid for a day. If puddles aren’t your thing, you do know what is, so give yourself permission.
Blessings friends. Thanks for joining me here.
How does life bring you joy?
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