What Joy Really Does

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I saw a reel the other day and it was an elderly woman discussing things she wished she had done differently.  She essentially stop living for the when.  “When I get this amount of money.  When the kids are older.  When I get that job.  When I meet these people.  When we have that house.”  Living for the when takes the appreciation and magic out of the now.  As painful as the reality is, we won’t always get some of those when’s we think we want.  It may also be true that sometimes not getting them is a blessing.  Sometimes it has to form to come to us at the right time in the right way.  But we can’t let that potential future rob us of what we have in front of us.  This woman also talked about how living for when sucks the joy out of now.  She said, “Don’t postpone joy, find it today.”  The simple profundity of the statement resonated deeply in that moment.

How often are we rushing from obligation to obligation without really experiencing life?  How often are we finishing something only to have to rush on to the next thing?  How often do we put our worth on how much we accomplish?  How much life do we miss trying to fill it with doing?  How happy are we/what do we actually feel about living our lives like that?  BOOM.  We are trained to see value in what we produce, how much we do, how much we earn, and how busy we are.  We lost sight of the value of the quality of our lives by substituting quantity.  It was never quantity of experiences, or love, or fun—it was the size of our checklist.  Can we say that we lived fully if all we are doing is adding to a list that is literally never-ending? 

Living in joy and leaning toward joy brings us firmly in the moment.  I’m not advocating for being conflict averse or shunning every bad-feeling thing—life is life and it brings out some tough moments to get us to the sweeter side sometimes—but I am advocating for finding what feels good and doing more of that. When we lean toward joy it becomes a guide post for where we need to go and what we need to do.  It’s an indicator of where we need to course-correct.  Ultimately, it reveals our purpose.  What brings us joy is where we need to apply our energy and use it to overflow that joy into the world.  Maybe we can even help people discover what brings them joy as well.  If joy is unfamiliar at the moment, then maybe start with gratitude and let it evolve. The more we spread joy, the more we find joy, the more we light up the world.  That is what joy really does.

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