Where Do You Hide Your Joy?
In a little-hidden place inside of you where nobody can get to? Perhaps a flap underneath, in and through your emotional heart. Maybe a place in your mind where happy memories are stored. Or, perhaps Joy is far away on the moon or in a dark, secret cave in another part of your psyche. Perhaps your mother or father took it when they left. Or you left it way back in your childhood when you had to grow up too fast. Sometimes we leave joy with our grandparents especially when they die and leave us on our own.
Joy can be found underneath the ‘jobs to do list’ and hidden behind deadlines we have to meet. Joy can be swept away in an instant when we decide it’s more important to do the right thing because we should, or ought to, or have to. Duty is the killer of Joy and the harbinger of a life lived compromising others as we neglect our innate desires and dreams.
But then Joy has a funny way of showing up in a memory, or a smell that takes us back to a place of a happy experience. Joy can sometimes be waking up to a bright sunny day with blue sky and not having anything you must do. Joy is contagious just as laughing and yawning and crying can be. Joy is drawn to a heart that is open, light, curious and inquisitive. A heart that can come down to the level of a child, a cat, a dog and even a beetle or worm on the ground is a heart that can see and feel beauty right now, this place, this space, this moment.
Joy will not want to hang around or even feel invited when you are angry, annoyed, ‘pissed off’, resentful or under a cloud of heavy, dark feeling states and mind prisons. And, Joy gets clouded over by tiredness. You will not be able to keep Joy away if you are laughing, crying with happiness, glad to be with people you like, in a loving relationship, skipping, walking in nature with the sun shining on your back, watching children play or a seal swim in the ocean.
Being full of Joy and Joyful is to become a magnet others can’t resist being drawn toward. Being less full of Joy, being Joyless is a deterrent to wanting to connect with other, to engage or to share a friendly word. In ancient shamanic tribes and modern day healing communities if you came to the shaman or therapist depressed, complaining about your life, dispirited and lost they would ask you four questions:
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort and ease in silence? These four activities and experiences are universal healing salves to a loss of soul. A loss of soul is also a loss of joy, of happiness and well-being. A loss of feeling good-in-your-skin. photo credit:
photo credit: Colin Steele of his grandson Sullivan 2008