On Joy

“There is a river of joy in my heart. It knows which way to go.”
– Lyrics by Jane Waskiewicz

We all need joy. Joy brightens our perspectives, refreshes and renews us and allows for hope by providing simple insights into ourselves, others and our situations.

But how can we find joy? Where do we find joy? The answer to these questions may differ greatly from person to person; however, it is true for each individual that in order to begin experiencing joy, one must be open to seeking and receiving it.

Whether you find joy in a connectedness with others, a solitary walk in nature or a particularly moving musical passage, heartfelt joy is a pure integration of our physical, emotional and spiritual energy. We are sensual beings, and by sharpening our senses we can use our eyes, ears, taste, touch, awareness, or intuition to bring us closer to finding and experiencing joy.

Joy can be felt through a sense of humor. When we laugh at that which is bothering us, we diminish its power to overwhelm us by making our problems more manageable. When we share humor with others, we can tap our collective strength to overcome what is troublesome.

Some people find joy in spiritual pursuits, which may vary from culture to culture. Some people seek silence, others seek raucous celebration. Within couples, joy may come with a sweeping “lost in love” feeling or from a quiet, deep, long-lasting sense of abiding love. Quiet or loud, still or moving, joy fills our hearts with pleasure. Our hearts literally need to feel joy (“heartfelt”) to be strong and survive.

Sometimes people are so lost in their own tensions that they build walls around themselves. It can be helpful to give ourselves permission to “take a vacation” from what is bothering and occupying us and to venture beyond our self-imposed walls. One way in which the journey to joy can begin is by simply putting aside the mundane of our day to day experiences and stepping away from our stressors or our walls. In doing so, we can find a connection, a sense of vitality, and the feeling of renewal, which strengthens us for the work of living a heartfelt life.