Saturday, October 07, 2006


I was reminded of a friend's Happiness Journal while I was sitting in the waiting room of the Long Beach VPC (the place that we drop our car for shipment to Sicily) yesterday reading an old copy of body + soul magazine (one of the Martha Stewart publications). There was an article by Victoria Moran entitled "Joy" that I really enjoyed.

Since I can't find a link to the article online I will retype it here:

Get more in your life...then spread it around

The summer after second grade, I went to Baptist Bible Camp with my friend, Georgia Lee. As a pre-Vatican II (and therefore, hymn deprived) Catholic, I loved when we would sing "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart." Even at the age of 7, though, it crossed my mind that this little word - joy - seemed reserved for religious contexts only, such as Bible camp and Christmas cards. You didn't really hear it used elsewhere.

That hasn't changed much since, but it ought to. We need the word because we crave what it means: the sense that all is right with the world, even when circumstances vigorously deny it. People who have joy as their foundation naturally use their energies to create more where it appears to be lacking. They can't stop themselves; it's the way joy rewires a person.

Like a regular and decaf, joy comes in two forms: surge and simmer. The first is a glorious wavelike gush ("I graduated!"..."It's a girl!"). When the wave retreats, as all waves do, a sheen of that joy remains. Simmer joy, on the other hand, comes from how you live your life. Knowing that you're here for a purpose - and setting aside the whiny wants of your ego to fulfill it - keeps the joy pot bubbling, nice and steady.

While outside events can prompt joyful feelings, keeping your personal joy level up is an inside job. Do it by staying on your path, taking pride in daily accomplishments, and noticing small delights, like the courageous dandelion making its way through the concrete. When you feel that unshakable well-being, as if your cells and soul are smiling, remind yourself, "This is joy." Then it becomes a part of your vocabulary and an ever-present aspect of your life.

No comments: