It's one of my favorite words in the English language. Joy. Not happiness, but joy. There is a difference. One has to do with the fleeting and temporary, the other is a deep contentment with oneself and with life in general.
What brings you joy? Where does your heart reside? Do you even know? Hey, I'm the first one to say that a trip to Europe, or a new pair of shoes, sends a little thrill down my spine. The thought of going out to dinner with someone special puts a big smile on my face too. Those are the day in/day out things that gives us a lift, that makes us giddy with excitement, but they're fleeting. We know this. We know the superficial things in life provide little in the way of lasting, long term contentment. If I never bought another thing for myself, if I never got to see Ireland again, or eat crab legs, I would still have a sense of contentment and joy because of the consistent focus I work to maintain. A focus that doesn't involve anything money can buy.
For instance, right now, out my back door there is a creek that runs through the part of my neighborhood I like to refer to as "the woods". It's a creek that is very full of water due to all the rain we've been having lately.....oh, and rain brings me joy too. The sound of it, the smell, the way everything just responds with new growth. The greening of Kentucky is happening in a big way right now....but the sound of the creek in the trees brings me a deep peace I wouldn't trade for anything. That sound available to me out my back door makes new shoes pale in comparison! Another joy is the feel of my cat on my lap, kneading my chest with his little feet, looking at me intently right in the eye, blissed out and content to be close to me. My cat, the Zen teacher. Cats have the art of joy and contentment down! Joy took me by surprise yesterday when I felt my spirit lift so far up, it's yet to come down. It was simply having the windows open with a balmy breeze drifting in and out, the sound of soft rain in the trees, the smell of freshness, the air charged with negative ions from the rain, and the sound of bagpipes being played within earshot outside as I listened to the love of my life teach his students what he himself was born to play....and what personally brings him deep joy. Add that the kitchen was heavy with the aroma of baking, and I just sat there for a moment and let it all envelop me. I was joyful, grateful, and content beyond words.
A perfect red cardinal can bring me deep joy. Maybe it's the color and vibrancy of this beautiful bird that moves me, maybe it's the sheer abundance of them here, I don't know, but I wouldn't want to be where I couldn't watch them come and feed in my yard. I engage in a silent communion with these birds. I send them a deep gassho when I am graced with their presence. Then there's the sound of trains going by in the distance. Hot tea in a perfect mug. My child's kisses. My cats purring. My clients gratitude for a wonderful massage....my knowing I provided them with a respite and a place to heal. Joy for what I do. Joy for just being.
Another joy I feel is the realization that I can accomplish anything I set out to do. There's a real sense of joy in getting out of one's own way and allowing your life to flow. With it comes a knowing that you will be alright. My joy is secure because I know this. I will be alright, and so will you. And so will you. I know I can handle whatever life throws at me....but that's if I choose to catch it. There is also great joy in knowing that I can just let the negative drop. No effort to catch it, no desire to deflect it, no need to fix it. It's freeing to just let it drop by the wayside. Joy undisturbed by life's chaos is something that I work towards. It's not always perfectly done, but it's worth the effort. What a blissful place to be! It's a choice, and it's yours too.
Do you choose joy today? If not, why not? It just takes a shift in perception to transform your entire day. Joy is that laughing companion that awaits to greet us in the morning. Take her hand and let it lead you. "Joy cometh in the morning...." What do you love? What makes you smile? What makes your heart feel content? Simple questions, and not so simple questions, I know. Ponder the things that are deep within you, the things that keep whispering in your ear. These are the urgings from that part of yourself that longs to feel content, that longs for lasting joy. If you need to change outward circumstances to attain a more joyful outlook, then please pay attention to those leadings of your heart. They can lift you up and out of whatever is holding you back from experiencing contentment.
So, what is your bliss? Consider, then act.
Until next time.....blessings upon your heart