Sometimes I forget what brings me true joy.
And when joy is present, it feels fleeting, and I feel the need to anchor it so it’s not overshadowed by more serious stuff!
Why am I unable to hang onto this expansive feeling that clearly craves more of my time? Why doesn’t joy pop up as readily as anger … or judgment?
All I have to do is slow down and be open and mindful to the joy of joy.
Why do I thoughtlessly shove joy aside in the moments of my day-to-day living? Why am I not meditating on joy? Why am I not writing more about joyous stuff? Yes, I’m thinking of cute kitty and doggy antics, and I’m also thinking of the more soul-comforting expressions of bliss that I know are out there for me. But I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt deep-down joy … for more than a flash in time.
To me, joy is more intense than pleasure.
Pleasure I get from licking a delicious vanilla cone. Joy, however, is soulful … a contented connection, a pure sensation of bliss that lasts longer than a momentary sensation on the tongue. To me, joy includes a special connection to something – either to one or more people, to my beloved pet, to the majesty of nature and all it brings forth, or in doing something kind that produces a goodness that fills my soul.
Joy brings me the sensation of wealth. When I have a whole day before me with no obligations or commitments, I feel joy. When I know there is nothing I need or want to live the kind of life I love, I feel joy and true wealth in a visceral way.
Your definition of joy might be different than mine. Think for a moment how you define joy.
I’ll bet it’s been a long time since you’ve been joyful.
How do we corral the experience of joy and keep it for longer than a day?
Well, folks, I’ve got some exciting news!
Joy is a state of mind!
Joy isn’t something that happens when the world goes right (whatever that means). Joy isn’t just an experience of pleasure from a fleeting moment.
Joy is always within you … waiting to be called forth for no reason.
Joy for me might be a day on the couch with a most delicious book, but, for my friend Kit, joy is a forty mile bike ride through the wine country. Kit says, “When I’m out there on the road, legs pumping forward mile after mile, I am filled with gratitude for the beauty of where I live. The joy in this beauty fills me up and helps keep me in the moments of my life, instead of worrying about the past or the future.” Kit doesn’t think of politics or money or work when she’s communing with nature. She is focused on her biking skills and the gorgeousness of her surroundings. She is experiencing a deep sense of joy.
Bringing forth joy is as easy as making a list of things that light you up.
Personally, I find the most endearingly joyful things come from animals, nature, and children … the pure unadulterated best parts of our world. For me, joy often involves innocence void of ulterior motives or constructed outcomes.
Have you heard the shrieking laughter of a baby who is thrilled with a scrap of paper? Have you seen a puppy pounce on it’s shadow in new discovery? (Check out YouTube.com for examples of both if you need reminding.) These are my ideas of pure joy. As we age, we forget to revisit the simplicity that small innocent things and events can bring us.
You have the power to bring forth into your mind the joys that fill you beyond a momentary flash. What are those things? As I suggest in Golden Grace – Embracing the Richness of Our Later Years, joy and happiness are by-products of the world you design for yourself.
If I’m not experiencing joy I only have myself to blame. There’s way too much doom and gloom these days, and it’s more important than ever to keep them (whomever that might be for you) from robbing you of your right to be filled with joy – not every second of every day, but perhaps more than you’ve been experiencing lately!
What brings you joy?