“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” ~ Buddha
Joy is many things, however, the ability to embrace joy in the simplest of things is where I always find my deepest connection to this emotion.
Joy is the uninhibited sound of children laughing. It’s the “pee in your pants/lose your breath” kind of laughter. Reckless, unabashed, unfiltered noises that fill a room and light you up from the inside.
Joy is the second you witness from afar – a teenager carry a shopping bag to the car for an elderly person.
Joy is watching the magic of clashing fireworks in a sky that is quite literally over in seconds.
Joy is feeling the warmth of a hand you are holding of a person you love. Not the mindless kind of “holding” but that conscious moment when you are present enough to truly feel the wrinkle of their knuckle, maybe the twitch of one of their fingers – or maybe even the way they repeatedly caress one of yours.
Joy is walking into a room and seeing a friend you have not seen in decades.
Joy is nuzzling a new kitten or puppy against your neck.
Joy is watching a newborn sleep; when you stand still enough to watch the rise and fall of the same chest that will one day be the body of an old woman or man.
Joy is soaking the warmth of sunshine on your face. You feel it when you close your eyes and sounds become more refined and echo inside of your cells.
Joy is the heat of bourbon on the back of your throat as it goes down, or the chill of cool ice tea on your tongue and cheeks on a hot summer day.
Joy is watching someone’s face when you make eye contact with them and let them know how much you appreciate them and why.
Joy happens when you study hands that play a piano or a guitar and is when you are present enough to take in the sound they are able to create with the dance their fingers choreograph.
Joy is seeing love in the face of someone whose name you remember when maybe inside that someone felt insignificant to you and forgettable.
Joy is moving in our bodies. It’s remembering to take a moment to feel gratitude for the demands we place on it everyday without zero consideration on most days that our body could ever one day tell us, “NO”!…..until that potential regretful day that it may.
Joy is a kiss. A hug. A hand placed on your shoulder from behind for no reason. It’s being present for every connection and how the tactile sensations made our insides sing.
Joy is nature growing around us that we oftentimes forget to stop and stare upon.
Joy is the effortless blessing of the rise of the moon, the setting of the sun and the placement of the stars speckled in our galaxy on a warm or even cold night.
There is no end to all of the things that illicit Joy inside of each of us.
As a child and in a magical-thinking kind of way, I always believed that Joy was an emotion unworthy of being welcomed or held on to because I understood so young – that it was but fleeting. After all, why hold onto something good, when just around the corner – hardship lurked?
But what I eventually came to know was that Joy was the high octane fuel that I needed to fill my tank up with everyday at each “Joy station” that came across my path. I sucked the nectar out of each of those moments because at the times when my tank was empty – when I stalled by the side of the road in my life – when I crashed and experienced the pain of brokenness and self defeat – it was the Joyous times of seconds past that saw me through.
None of us get out of here alive. Our lives are but ticking grandfather clocks sounding at every hour. There are a MILLION moments in a 24 hour cycle that we can choose Joy – where we can lather our minds and our hearts with the textures of a spirited feeling meant to lift us up when times get heavy.
Soak them up.
Find Joy hidden in even the roughest corners of your day and then commit to sitting inside of it!
Fill up your tank.
Live the life you were destined to author and then dance CRAZY wild into this beautiful season Joy!
And should this December season birth sadness or strife of any kind, stay seated in the knowing that Joy is simply on pause – and remember…another station where you can fill up again lies just around the bend.