This post is part of my friend Hannah Marcotti’s The Joy Up Stories Series. The Joy Up begins August 1st (that’s tomorrow!) with hundreds of women who are ready to claim their joy and deepen love, ritual, trust and rhythm. Join in the joy by clicking here.
I love helping my friends who are doing rad empowering things in the world spread the word about said rad empowering things. So, when the lovely and wise, Hannah Marcotti, asked me if I wanted to write about JOY as a way of contributing to her Joy Up Stories Series, it was a no-brainer.
And, then I got stuck.
For me, joy is one of those kind of elusive emotions. I’ve certainly experienced plenty of joy in my life, but to talk about how I get there is a bit tricky. Joy seems to bubble up when I least expect it — like walking down the street and spotting a shadow dancing on a wall, or making sparkly eye-contact with a passing stranger, or sipping the perfect cup of coffee with a friend who truly gets me. It’s like, “OH! There it is!” That melty-everything-is-gonna-be-alright feeling of pure contentment >>>>pure JOY.
With each passing year, I realize these joyful moments in life are often pretty SUBTLE. I honestly think this might be part of the getting older process….one of the awesome parts I might add. For example, as much as it pains me to admit it, I am getting less and less interested in huge parties (ie: choosing not to go to Burning Man for the first time in seven years). Also, my desire to hop on a plane for an epic adventure in a foreign land seems to be dwindling (OK, dwindling to just two adventures a year, but still dwindling ) In a nutshell, I have less and less of a desire to go searching for joy…outside of myself.
What is becoming more and more apparent to me is that joy actually lives inside of me…ALL OF THE TIME. Yeeeeeeeah. That is a pretty amazing thing to realize. It also begs the question, “So, if joy is there all the time, why is it so freaking hard to access?”
I’m pretty sure this is where our stories come in.
Depending on every single thing that has every happened to us and what kind of meaning we have decided to attach to that happening, we are all walking around with varying degrees of weighty STORIES, or belief systems. They might look like, “I don’t deserve joy. Life is hard. People can’t be trusted. Nobody understands me. Or, one of my personal favorites: Everything will be better when ______.” There are a million subtle ways that our stories get in the way of our JOY every single day.
So, what’s a girl (or boy) to do? How the hell can we let our joy rise UP? How can we actually EXPERIENCE this joy that supposedly lives inside us all the time? Honestly, I have no idea what might work for you, but here’s a recipe that works for me:
Surround myself with joyful people. Move my body everyday. Remember to breathe. Cultivate gratitude. Replace my negative stories with positive affirmations (“Everything is already perfect” is getting a lot of use these days). Notice simple beautiful things and rejoice in them. Eat greens. Paint. Touch the dirt. Serve others. Walk in the woods. Go with the flow. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Allow. Allow. Allow…
Hmmmmm….even just typing that list and bringing some thoughtful awareness to the topic stirs up some joy for me. I can also see clearly that there is one thing at the core of my ‘joy recipe’ and that is SELF LOVE. Interesting how that seems to be at the core of EVERYTHING these days…
Maybe you want to write down your own joy recipe?
Maybe you want to join the JOY UP movement?
Remember, joy lives inside of you…always.