Here in North America, we are in the Thanksgiving holiday season, so it seems appropriate that our topic for the month is Finding Joy. I love the idea of “finding” joy because I believe it exists in all the nooks and crannies of our lives. It is inextricably linked to gratitude, which is why Thanksgiving is such an important time to think about it.
I find joy in the small things every day. Autumn is my favorite time of year, so I’m rejuvenated by the brisk mornings and fall leaves. I’m in love with the smell and taste of crisp apples. I live in western Washington State, so I smile every time I see Mt Rainier peeping out from behind the clouds. Even the rain makes me happy when it’s falling through the trees and the air smells clean and—green, at least it seems like what green would smell like to me.
I find joy snuggling into my blankets, wearing my cozy sweater, putting my socks on when they’re warm from the dryer. In fact, I often warm up my robe and blanket in the dryer and think that the queen of England isn’t more comfortable than I am in that moment. I even find joy in oatmeal. It reminds me of a time when I was a child. At this time of year, I prefer inexpensive comfort food over gourmet anything else just because it reminds me of times that were short on money but long on joy.
I find joy in connecting with people. I’m a devout introvert but there’s something magical in those moments when you realize you are in sync with another person. It usually happens for me when something absurd has just occurred and one other person in a room and I seem to be the only people who caught it. That situation usually leads to laughter, and I believe laughter is almost as close as you can get to pure joy. Have you ever heard a baby belly laugh? Can anyone NOT feel joyful after that?
Sometimes life can be very heavy, and we might feel that there is no joy left in the world for us, but this is not true. If anything, the dark times are when we can find the sweetest joy at the core of life, the TRUE joy. I have sat in a room with six people undergoing chemo week after week. They had differing prognoses, but they all supported each other, they understood each other, and they joked and laughed. The tiny chemo room was their impromptu support group and they found joy in it.
If you look for joy, you will find it. If you make a habit of looking, you will create it. Where do you find joy?
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