#15 in a series of wild and precious things that help you find your joy.
This week I learned about joy. Reminded about the importance of practicing a joy stance every day. I honestly think it’s one of the most difficult things for me to do — I suspect I am not alone. Training for joy through gratitude — even when you don’t want to, even when it feels almost shameful (watch that word!) even when you’re afraid you might look un-hip or unintelligent or uncaring (How could you! in this time of suffering, be grateful? Do you not realize what is happening in the world?) — training for joy in difficult times is more important than ever. Why? Because is one of the things that makes you Real. (see quote, below)
“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.
But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” ― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit
It’s not only gratitude we can use to train for joy.
Paul Ekert, the renowned psychologist (Lie to Me was based on his work) found these feelings are associated with joy:
pleasure, amusement, contentment, excitement, relief, wonder, ecstasy, bliss, exultation, elevation, gratitude
Keep an ongoing list of things that bring you the above feelings.
Why keep an ongoing list? And why not just gratitude? It’s based on a hunch and an expansion of something Brene Brown researched: We’re terrified of joy. As soon as we get a glimpse of pure joy, we quickly turn away, back to “reality”
Case in point: You gaze into a loved one’s eyes. Adoration, love, pure unadulterated joy results. How long can you hold that gaze?
I propose joy aversion therapy. Seek out joy this week — focus on pleasure, contentment, relief, wonder, exultation, gratitude — when you notice it, hold the gaze. See how long you can sit in the feeling before you have to turn away. Practice every day.
I think we also hold this odd idea that the unseemliness of practicing joy in difficult times hardens us to the suffering of others. I promise you, it does the opposite.
(I guess an obvious caveat is that we still need to be sensitive to people around us. Joy is a powerful stance to take.)
March 16, 1964 — American President Lyndon B. Johnson submits a $1 billion war on poverty program to Congress.
7. Song (Joy. 1 song: Macy Gray “There is Beauty in the World”.)
8. Video. (Macy Gray — There is Beauty in the World video.)
9. Hero: So Many People This Week.
Why? I have been so uplifted by the outpouring of encouragement, wisdom, servant leadership, and love this week. It has brought me joy. It feels like so many of us have literally been waiting in the wings for a chance to shine. Keep shining .
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.
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