Joy

I have written about joy before….experiencing it on demand (as the great Chade Meng Tan talks about). Truly though, if you give it a little thought to it, aside from Christmas when joy seems to be scattered everywhere (joy to the world and all that), when do you experience joy?

It isn’t a word I am familiar with. I haven’t experienced a lot of joy in my life and haven’t come to know it well, until recently. It has always been fleeting and has required much thought and focus, which really, if you think about it, totally negates joy.

To me, joy is happiness multiplied. It is the feeling of being overwhelmed with love, happiness, elation, positivity and total bliss in the moment.

The Oxford dictionary describes joy as;

the joy of being alive

..which to me, and am sure you will agree, sums it up perfectly.

Recently, I decided my focus is on joy. Noticing it and bringing more of it into my life. Surprising how that attention of awareness brings so much to fruition. The main joy in my days are my two children – who honestly are not the epitome of children. My daughter is 19 and my son is 15, and although I am totally biased, they are the funniest two humans ever. They make me laugh constantly….the forever running stream of accents that range from Russian to Italian to something Polish and in between. My son only ever speaks to our dog in a Polish accent, it is absolutely hilarious. You could not find a comedian that could make this stuff up. They are my greatest critics and the cause of my greatest sorrow. I love every inch of both of them and my life would not be what it is without them. They are joy in it’s full entirety.

I am always in a state of some self development….and this year has been the culmination of many, many years of work on my self worth…and the value I place upon my self, which, if you think about it is probably the cause of most people’s discord – that feeling of not being good enough basically. I have worked hard on this and have to say, I like who I am today. I have bad days, but don’t we all? But I no longer hate or loathe myself and this is alien to me now. However, joy is also quite an alien thing. It comes and goes, but I want more of it.

I’ve talked about affirmations before and especially the power of writing them down, which you can read about here. My affirmation has been for a while about loving and valuing myself and noticing joy. Seriously, these written affirmations never fail to materialise…it is totally magical and you can’t truly believe it until you practice it and do them daily.

Here is my list of joys just this past week:

  • Feeling somewhat annoyed at a business trip having turned into a mega long trip stuck in traffic, only to realise that my destination [seriously didn’t realise it was that far] was in North Wales…I LOVE Wales – such a great feeling to be there
  • I apologise if this seems racist, it totally is not intended that way, but the total picture of it was so funny…I kept seeing signs on the M6 of pedestrians in the road. I thought that was odd, I mean would they not be ran over? So a couple of miles after the signs, I see a car and a traffic officer with two completely white robed muslim men bombing along the hard shoulder and the slow lane trying to retrieve luggage that had flew off….I was laughing so much I nearly crashed the car
  • Woo (my lovely daughter) singing
  • Re-connecting with the third book I want to publish and actually finding a way to publish it (am working on it and it precedes Maldives for the Mind)
  • Looking at photographs (whilst working on aforementioned book) of my kids when they were little
  • Creating some positive quotes with my photographs for social media
  • Baking both days of the weekend
  • Meeting my sister and mum for drinks at the pub
  • Visiting my beautiful Grandma and sitting in the garden with our faces in the sunshine
  • Embarking on my 50 minute National Parks Challenge that turned into an hour and 43 minute, 5 mile walk through mainly wet grass with our dog, Lenny
  • Visiting my brother and chatting with my nephew who fashioned a ‘fix’ for the light pull in the bathroom. It was too short and you couldn’t grasp the cord so he fixed it with a tampon ha ha ha…seriously the kid is just too intelligent
  • Sitting on my garden swing in the sunshine, just for 10 minutes with a cup of tea
  • Ironing my son’s new (6) school shirts and realising this was the last year I would be doing this and remembering all his school years… picturing him as that cute 6 year old (warms my heart…he is now 6ft 2)

There is so much more….

Notice joy and it is everywhere.

 

[This photograph was taken along the Highway 1 route in California in 2009. My beautiful two children on the campsite we stayed at, just across from the beach.]

Noticing Joy

Joy is all around you if you notice it.

I had not experienced joy too much in my life. It was one of those fleeting emotions that came and went, but not often and I can’t think I ever really noticed it. It is difficult to experience joy when you are unhappy most of the time. My kids of course have brought me joy and continue to do so every time I am with them. Aside from them, however, joy was always very fleeting.

When I first started yoga, I remember leaving a class and feeling what I can only describe as being in a bubble of joy. For no reason, other than how the class had left me feeling. I was floating, elated and uplifted. It was so overwhelming that I could hardly contain the feelings and wanted to burst.

Over the years I have come to notice joy more and recently as my meditation seems to have supersized, joy is everywhere. It’s in the sky as I drive along and then when I notice that, I find I turn a corner only to see the sky again from a different perspective and yet more joy. It’s in the kid waiting at the crossing with his mum, doing a funny dance, or the lady hoisting up her dress at the cash machine (ATM) because it got stuck in her underwear (the dress, not the ATM). It’s in the flowers being sold off in the shop because they are dying, but then I get them home and they look like they were picked fresh yesterday. It’s in my garden, as tired, cold and worn out as it looks, hibernating in this freezing cold weather. It’s hearing the son my son is playing on his keyboard or hearing my daughter singing in the shower. It’s the smell of fresh air when I walk out of the house, the stars in a clear sky when I look up to let the dog out at night. Joy is literally everywhere and the more you notice it, the more joy there seems to be to notice. I smile at things throughout the day that before I would never have even noticed. I laugh out loud at things that before I would never have been in a place to laugh about.

Why is this?

The act of noticing something truly enables you to notice more of it, but it is more than that. It is being mindful to notice in the first place. Meditation breathes life into your day and what flutters along with that is joy.

Tomorrow, be mindful. Expect joy….notice joy and experience joy.

 

[Today’s image is my talented nephew, Cory (aka San Francisco hip hop artist, Rezyl Azzir¬†]