The persistence of joy

My lived experience has been an attempt to effectively migrate the quandaries of change by tapping into the persistence of joy. In a previous post, I defined joy as that smoldering internal ember that refuses to be extinguished despite
repeated external attempts to douse it.  Happiness is embedded in our
constitution and is a protected right.  Yet happiness is fleeting in
our attempts to capture it.  Joy, on the other hand, captures us.

Joy is the deep undercurrent of life. Independent from any temporal realities, joy compels us to tap into the transcedent dimensions of our lives.  The two eternal dimensions that buoy joy are humor and hope. Both are in desperately needed today.

Humor: This is the closest we can come to facing our failures and moving on with renewed vigor.  When we can laugh at ourselves and the situations we find ourselves in, we are engaging in a very courageous act; for both our egos and our culture don't like to be laughed at.  Yet it is the discovery of humor and the act of laughter that disarms them both. As the great American philosopher Jimmy Buffett once said, "if we all couldn't laugh, we would all go insane."

Here are some suggestions for finding humor and engaging in laughter:

  • Listen to comedians.  Most comedians will tell you that their humor is inevitably birthed from pain and insecurity.  Some of my favorites are Jim Gaffigan and Demitry Martin, and Ken Davis
  • Share a bottle of wine (or two) with great, close friends and loosen up the nerves enough to laugh with one another. A nice affordable merlot that does the trick for me is Red Diamond

Hope: I define hope as an act of the will that stubbornly leans into and moves forward against the headwinds of life. It is a refusal to be knocked down completely. Hope exists at the interface between the temporal and eternal. All that separates this world from the next is a sigh. That deep, audible exhalation of sadness or duress is the signal to begin leaning forward. 

Here are some suggestions for accessing the will and leaning forward in hope:

  • Nurture the soul. This is best done in contemplation and silence. It is very hard in our noisy world, but try sitting silently for 20 minutes. Let any thought that comes your way to flow along out of your consciousness so that can be fully presence with the eternal.
  • Don't go it alone. Share your worries and fears with those who can be trusted. The act of verbalizing them with others can normalize your situation and provide much needed camaraderie and support.
  • Absorb stories of lives lived hopefully in the midst of extraordinary bleak circumstances. You will learn how powerfully resilient the human spirit is when enriched with hope.  Two wonderful ones are: The book "A Paradise Built in Hell" and the movie, "Life is Beautiful"

I wish you all joy as you move forward into the new year!