Tis the season of joy. We see JOY written in all caps on Christmas decorations, ugly sweaters, and streamers lining busy city streets. "Joy to the world” is very much needed right now. I'm visually attracted to the word. It is such a short, simple, and yet perfectly round and swoopy word. To me, it’s a perfect little word. Even to say it out loud brings a certain degree of happiness and joy. Try it!
I consider myself a joyful person, but here's the thing that is a bit prickly, joy feels dangerous. Not dangerous as in 'I’m carrying a loaded weapon and I don’t know how to use it' way, but in a very uncertain way. It’s vulnerable. The thing I struggle with when it comes to joy, is the fear of losing it. So I hold back, ever so subtly, from living in it fully.
To be honest, I sometimes don't even recognize the feeling of it, especially when nothing extraordinary is happening. I remember once being asked how I was feeling, by someone I was visiting with over Skype, and I was shocked that I felt joy. I started to cry, not that I had never felt joy before, but it was a simple joy. A deep gratitude for her, in that exact moment in time, and I was moved. It's profundity was not in what was happening but, rather, in it's simplicity. After that I recognized that I am more apt to sink into despair than I am to sink into joy. I know the mire of despair, but the simple warmth of joy, why is that more dangerous?
The thing about joy is that, yes, it is dangerous. But the danger does not lie in that it can be lost, but rather in it’s power. Joy is deep. Joy is full. Joy is connected to gratitude. Joy is that subtle stillness when we check in, and become aware of what is good about life. It’s not about comparisons. It’s not about being happy because we have more and others have less, so we “should” be grateful. It’s not about waiting for life to be perfect. It’s not about winning. Rather, joy is connecting with our world and with ourselves, and being brave enough to say; “This is a good moment.”