Finding joy in the ordinary. . .
This is not the first post about joy that I have recently written. It’s on my mind because of the seminars I do, the books I write and my own daily commitment to living joyfully. Obviously I believe it’s attainable; and yet I know many who seldom express joy or even seek it. I used to fall into that category and now I wonder why it took me so long to wake up.
The minister at the church I attend spoke about joy today and posed these questions: “What’s keeping you from feeling joy much of the time?” And “What is it that you do that does bring you joy?” These questions are worthy of serious consideration if joy is lacking. My husband and I had a great conversation about the ways we find joy in our lives on the drive home. I hope others did the same. Only when we seriously address joy’s absence, can we make the commitment to changing our life.
Experience has taught me there is a way to discover joy, even manufacture it, if necessary. I also learned to simply observe it in others and then practice what I was seeing them do. This isn’t “cheating.” It’s the same format that we tell children to follow when they are trying to learn a new task. I often pretended being joyful in the early days of my recovery. Acting as if, it’s called. It works. Most of the time. I can attest to that. Sadly I didn’t find much joy in the moment for the first forty years of my life. I wasn’t a quick learner when I came into recovery but I was persistent.
My how my life has changed. Now a colleague and I are facilitating a workshop about joy and how to cultivate it in our relationships on a consistent basis. (If you live in the twin cities area and are interested in coming, see the event section of my website for more details. The workshop is Saturday, Oct. 22nd.) Both Bill, the other presenter, and I, have many years of recovery under our belts; and we know how important the practice of joy is. In fact, it may be the only thing that ensures one against the seduction of a relapse.
Joy is contagious too. The life of the “actor” benefits and those who share his or her circle are likewise lifted up. Being a carrier of joy is a great calling. And it’s one that we all have the credentials for. It requires a decision first. Then willingness, accompanied by follow-through. The great pay-off is that others can “copy us,” just as I copied others in my early days. Paying it forward is one of those gifts that keeps giving. Are you game?