Joy is such a strange and fascinating thing, we could probably study it for years and still not have a definitive on what it is. How it can coexist with the darkest moments just as much as the lighter moments, how so often it is most reliably found in those very simple everyday moments. Joy is not a slap you round the face declaring "I'm here" more a "I am here for you" much quieter voice.
My little terrier George always points me towards joy, as we walk around the same walk in our neighborhood, his joy is evident as he picks up new smells on every walk. To me it may seem the same old walk, to him it is new each time. I've started doing a little game called five things. So as we walk, I notice five things I can smell (not easy but quite interesting), five things that I can see (really noticing the detail), five things that I can feel (I am sure the neighbours wonder who that strange person is feeling up all the trees haha), five things that I can hear, and five things I can taste (this is a strange one, quite interesting how you can taste the air, breathing with mouth open). Some of the same things keep cropping up but more often than not my mind will look for new things, it is quite a joyful way to experience something that on the face of it is the same but experienced through the senses, it is never the same, always changing.
No goals, simple joy.
I remember as a child experiencing joy by just doing something for the pleasure of it, no goals, no having to be productive. Going out for a bike ride, playing on the park with friends, drawing. Children can show us the portal to joy.
The pace of modern life (even in lockdown) can obscure our own innate inner joy, instead of immersing into the moment, we think what we should be doing, or comparing or we stop ourselves from opening up to the possibility that joy is always here, even in the most challenging times as we believe we have to show up in the world in a certain way.
So I wonder is this the way to come back to joy, return to some fundamental basics, simplicity, carving out some time each week to just be ourselves, to do something just for the sheer pleasure of it.
Knowing that we don't have to have all our ducks in a row before we can experience joy but instead finding joy in the fact that all the ducks aren't in a row.
Knowing that we don't need to wait, waiting for retirement or waiting for our lottery numbers to come up or whatever, what if we practiced joy here and now, no waiting.
Whatever joy means to you, know that it is always there, always there for you, even in the most challenging times, we just need to slow down for long enough, to listen to that quiet voice of intuition and there it will be.
Each Sunday, we have pledged to switch off and practice uncovering joy again, carving that time out to simply be , to be proudly unproductive. Feel free to join us, I put an event up on our Facebook page that you can join if you would like to set that intention.