"In exploring joy, I realize it is one of the most difficult emotions to really feel. Because we lose the ability or willingness to be vulnerable, joy becomes something we approach with deep foreboding. This shift from our younger self's greeting of joy with unalloyed delight happens slowly and outside our awareness. We don't seem to even know that it is happening or why.. We just know that we crave more joy in our lives, that we are joy starved."
In a culture of deep scarcity, of never feeling safe, or enough, joy can feel like a setup. "I wake up and feeling good, all is right with work, no major crises are happening, disaster must be lurking around the corner."
Softening into joyful moments of our lives requires vulnerability.
"What was the most surprising and life changing moment for me was the nature of the reminder. Vulnerability accompanies joy which is also an invitation to practice gratitude. To acknowledge how truly grateful we are for the person, the beauty, the connection, or simply the moment before us. Many describe joy as a spiritual way of engaging with the world that is connected to practicing gratitude."
Practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there is enough and that
we are enough.
Joy comes to us in moments -- ordinary moments. We miss risking out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary. Being grateful for what I have is honoring what I have and also honoring what I have lost too.
Softening into joy is uncomfortable. Yes, it's vulnerable. Every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen--and they do happen--we are stronger.