Monday, August 13, 2012

What Is Joy?

5 x 7 watercolor with ink on watercolor paper

What is Joy?
Where do you feel joy?
What brings you joy?

Lately - as I have been participating in my summer art festivals, I have had a lot of customers looking for art pieces with the word "joy" on it.
And it got me to thinking -
Why? and . . .
 what is the difference between happiness and joy?

People are looking for reminders to feel joy.

Joy, in my opinion, is so much more encompassing than happiness.
Being happy is a wonderful state to be in, no doubt about it.
But feeling Joy . . .Experiencing a state of Joy. . .
Well -
that seems like so much more.

So I have been watching for moments of joy around me.

A few things that I have witnessed -
the utter delight of my 2 year old grandson as he played at the park.
He felt pure joy when he accomplished climbing the ladder of the slide and coming down all by himself.
The look on my dogs face as he runs through the park chasing his ball and greeting his dog friends.
The look of my best friend as she holds her 2 month old granddaughter and is greeted with a smile.
The look in my parents eyes when they gaze at each other.
The feeling of accomplishment for a job well done that, at first glance, seemed impossible.
The happiness I feel when I am surrounded by my children and they are laughing and loving each other.

Joy -
that feeling of so much happiness that you aren't quite sure how to contain it.
In fact - you feel as if you might burst from it.

And as I have paid attention to these moments, I realize -
the only way to experience JOY is to be fully engaged and present in the moment.
In each of the moments of joy that I witnessed,
those involved were not plotting their next adventure, or multi-tasking, or balancing their checkbook.
There were no phones, or texts, or tweets, or tumbles. . .
They were not engaged in tasks that required money or extravagant circumstances.
The moment was pure, and simple and real.
And they were fully engaged and present.

I am not overly optimistic or unrealistic.
I know that sometimes - life sucks!
Trust me - I know.

Many days - I have no choice but to multi-task from morning 'til night.
And I recognize - we all have moments of sadness and difficulty and challenges -
but in the end, we do have a choice.

How will we choose?
Will we choose to be consumed by darkness?
Will we choose to be consumed by "busy-ness"?
Will we be distracted and non-present?
And although, there are many instances where I have to roll with the busy-ness and the distractions and the sadness and the darkness -
in the end, at some point each day . . .
I choose JOY.


Giggles said...

You nailed it!! So true! I often blurt out an I love you to my daughter or son in's so random and odd..but a feeling of joy washes over me and I must express that feeling in the moment!! There can be snippets of joy amongst grief even! Those moments propel us above the sadness!! That's why I love to laugh so much, it give me great joy!! Wonderful post and artwork!!

Hugs Giggles

Gale said...

Thank you! You expressed it so well, and I needed a reminder!

An'Angelia Thompson said...

A beautiful post, Laurie, and a great reminder to all of us! xoxox