Joy is such a precious gift. And to me summertime is just filled with joy. Everyone is out, having fun and really enjoying themselves and the beautiful sunshine. Last week I introduced the idea of fun leading into joy with my new word – foy. But we still need to do some more investigating…what is joy, really?
For me, joy can be seen in that childlike sense of wonder and curiosity, the delight we see on a child’s face (on their good days), and their overflowing enthusiasm when they get excited about something. A happy child is joy incarnate. Children are filled to the brim with it. It is their default position.
Think about it, we don’t wait patiently, coaxing out a baby’s frown. No, we are waiting for their smile and their laugh, because that is what comes first. Not just to some babies, but to all babies, and not just to some human beings, but all human beings. Joy is our birthright, our natural state.
Joy is like an exaltation—an interesting combination of gratitude, awe and happiness. But it’s beyond happiness.
Happiness says, “Wow, I have so many of the things I want. Life is good.”
Joy is about revelling in the absolute assuredness and certainty that everything is exactly the way it’s meant to be (even when something is a bit off, it is about finding the rightness in it – more on that next week).
The experience of joy is unique to each of us—from what brings us joy, to what qualities it encompasses to how we recognize it in ourselves or others. Yet there seem to be some common elements:
- Feeling engaged in life
- Being in the flow
- Having a sense of connection, to our hearts, our communities, something bigger than ourselves, or to the whole
- Being aware, being tuned in to ourselves and our environment
- A sense of awe and wonder at life
- A buzz, an excitement, an anticipation
- It is self-referencing: we feel it inside ourselves and have to be tuned into ourselves in order to know we are in that place.
- We are engaged in activities that fill us up, that strengthen us, and have us feel very much alive.
But over time we seem to migrate away from joy. Why?!? There seems to be a bit of a myth in society that we have to work hard. Therefore, if something comes to us easily, it must not have value. More and more I’m realizing that when we are in our natural state (of JOY!), life is easier.
There’s a cost to not living from a place of joy. The cost is that we get ourselves stuck in a non-flow place. We’re actually slowed down in our lives. It’s just like putting an obstacle in front of an oak tree that is trying to grow. It will most likely still be able to grow, but it’s going to be slower as it negotiates its way around the object.
Joy is about being fully yourself and fully expressed. Don’t let life drown out the joy. Find ways this summer to bring joy back into your life.
Okay over to you:
What does joy feel like for you? What are you doing to keep joy in your life? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.