Most people in the world do not get the opportunity to experience Joy on a regular basis. Now, Joy is often confused with bliss, ecstasy or even happiness… but it is entirely different. Joy is a gift, beyond description and completely in the present; whereas the others are time fleeting or working through a subconscious current. As someone labeled with ‘clinical depression’ I have really analyzed and explored ways in which to cognitively make me a happier person, and I am. I experience bliss and ecstasy rather easily, happiness on occasion, but joy is a pure feeling I think most of us rarely get to express.
In contemplating this blog post all week I had to think, hopefully from a liminal and Pagan perspective, about what Joy actually IS and how I experience it. So keeping true to my person, I will make a list (it is one of my favourite past times). Of course it would not really be a challenge to list all the things which make me happy or bring me enjoyment; memories and materials are easy. No, I need to explore the things in my life which bring renewable Joy… a gift which keeps giving throughout my life.
- Watching plants grow. It is such a mystery and beautiful daily experience I participate in, no matter where in the world I am. Whether enjoying my own container garden which has traveled with me through the years, or the overgrowth in a far away park, I appreciate all that nature gifts us. Plants bring. Be Joy in a peaceful, quiet presence.
- Animals at play. No matter if they are wild or domesticated, seeing an otherwise ‘dumb’ Be-ing enjoying themselves is a Joyful opportunity of reminding how we all interact. Animals playing together, alone, with humans are all fun games and are an expression of the relative innocence that is hidden in the Universe. I especially find Joy in playing with my geriatric kitty; at 15 years old my cantankerous Raven still likes the occasional ribbon play or ‘under the blanket’ (a most dangerous game not for those who are fearful of claws sharp as a wolverine).
- Spending time with my family. I am such a lucky woman. I have been blessed with two sisters I am very close with (it was bound to happen since all three of us shared a bed for some years), a husband who has supported (albeit reluctantly sometimes) my spiritual and intellectual pursuits, a mother who has always been my best friend, and a father who taught me how to be tough without trying. I must have set something great up in my last life to be charmed with such wonderful, life affirming people in my life. Sure they all think I am nutty, and I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I am; but they all know the secret to my heart: making me laugh. I have laughed so hard with these people, expressed abandoned Joy to the point of bursting… literally, I have peed my pants on occasion from being so caught up. And what is REALLY interesting about this shared Joy is I am usually the butt of the jokes; my sister got it right when she called me the clown/fool of the family and there’s no other way I’d rather have it.
- Knowing my daughter. She is an adversarial twin spirit, this child of mine. She is my guru, teacher, and lesson in patience and Joy. I have never known such until this little Be-ing appeared in my life. She is the only person I would ever die or live for. Sure she drives me crazy sometimes… She is 4 ½ right now and they are all annoying at this age. But my husband made our dream possible, for a parent at home with her during these important years of development. I just didn’t anticipate the growth being with us as parents either. I have stayed home, improved my cooking skills (I loathe cooking but love to eat), worked on my Master’s, read, wrote, crafts with my daughter. It was also in her that I sometimes saw reflections of myself I did not like. Children are honest and pick up behaviors both good and bad. My daughter is a gauge, the gentle temperance and deep grounding that was missing.
- Music… the language of our Universe. It expresses emotion when words are not possible. The spheres and strings which run throughout the whole of existence, into and outside as multidimensional vibrations on the great web of life are manifested musically. Pitches, keys, chords, it is cyclical and spiraling… the ancient rhythms of the cosmos. I cannot play an instrument and it sometimes makes me sad. I tried playing the saxophone, the flute, guitar, piano, and eventually did okay with percussion instruments. But my heart and head recognize the sounds of divine creativity, talent, and skills required in quality music. My tastes are extremely diverse, but my appreciation runs true and through the beauteous universality of spirit. Some of my most Joyful moments have been whilst listening to an extremely moving piece of music, memories associated with certain songs come flooding back the moment I hear an opening riff… music is evocative and speaks to the primal, raw parts of ourselves. Why, I bet there is hardly a human alive who DOESN’T like music. I bet humans started singing before speaking. It is same song we all sing, share, bring to each and every thing (living or not) in our dimension; a piece of ourselves, our vibrating stardust, our potential harmony that a precious and Joyful occurrence.