Rather than seeing joy as a random gift, let’s consider it a practice, an active discipline, in the best sense of the word. Surely, we don’t make joy happen—we just aren’t that powerful. But we can, as a consistent practice, create the circumstances in which joy is manifested. Regardless of the internal or external, the personal or political situations, we can choose our focus.
What are the elements of joy upon which we might agree? Here are a few—please add yours to the list. Joy may be:
- Experienced alone
- Experienced with others
- Triggered by nature
- Almost fluid in its nature
- Available when our minds are quieter
- ______________? Add yours here.
The practice of leaning toward joy demands that we be present with all of life. It does not make us immune from the inevitable challenges and constrictions of living. To the contrary, being present in the moment is the key to unlocking the door of possibility. If we are busy trying to control the moment, trying to push away the “hard stuff”, surely, we aren’t there to be filled with that whoosh of prana, that flow of energy that is joy.
I believe that any body-centered practice will make us candidates for joy. Moving the body, quieting the mind, creates the circumstances for joy to emerge. Walking, dancing, playing, biking, doing yoga—are only a few of the springtime doorways through which you might walk toward joy. The body’s messages get louder as the mind quiets. Our hearts open to the flow of life.
Why is it that we tend to shy away from the activities that we love the most, that are perhaps the best for us? Amrit Desai, Kripalu’s former guru, used to teach about “bliss tolerance level”. Perhaps it just feels too good—too much pleasure—is that a possibility? Consider. Certainly, we each and all, deserve all the joy in the universe.
So how might we ready ourselves to receive this joy. Here are some suggestions:
- Consider—as a kid, what activities were fun for you? Perhaps renewing one of those in this upcoming week might open your heart.
- Thich NHat Hanh says, “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet”. Take a week and experiment with this glorious invitation.
- Go to the zoo, the beach, a beautiful park. Notice and breathe and relax.
- Walk barefoot—in sand, in grass, in water. How does it feel?
- Watch a hilarious and ridiculous movie. Consider the Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin, Woody Allen. My personal all-time favorites—Some Like It Hot and Bananas.
What’s the bottom line here? We deserve it. We deserve it. We absolutely deserve it. Let this springtime open your hearts to the positive flow of life energy. Simply said, lean toward joy. In the words of Rumi:
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
Let’s practice flowing with that river.
Dear Folks, keep me posted. What are joy-filled memories you have, either from decades ago or this morning? What can you bring again into your life, to flow into the zone of joy? Consider and let me know.
Here’s to our birthright, the flow of joy,
*Photo, of author, by author, reenacting the infamous hoodie-panty experience.