What Happened to Joy?
In today’s blog post I would like to explore the concept of joy, and the necessity to revisit it in times of sorrow and hardship.
Are we allowed to feel joyful when people in other parts of the world are suffering? Is it selfish to block out bad news and instead celebrate moments of bliss and pleasure? Is it self-indulgent to focus on our own wellbeing and happiness in times of turmoil?
Joie de vivre is a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life, an exultation of spirit. It can be a joy of conversation, joy of eating, joy of anything one might do… and joie de vivre may be seen as a joy of everything, a comprehensive joy, a philosophy of life, a ‘Weltanschauung.’ (from: Wikipedia)
I would like to propose that embracing a sense of 'Joi de vivre' is not selfish but necessary for our own emotional survival. The more we fill our inner reservoir with compassion and love - the more that inner light will radiate out into the world. When things feel overwhelming, we can remind ourselves about we do have control over. We can be kind to ourselves and others; we can be fully present at the checkout counter at the supermarket, for example. We can give others the gift our our full attention, rather than waiting for our turn to speak and share. We can gift others our smile and our open heart.
“If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.” - Thich Nhat Hanh
Yesterday when I started feeling burdened and saddened by the news and the war in Ukraine, I chose to cook a big pot of soup, bought myself a bouquet of pretty tulips and lit a candle for world peace while I was expressing deep gratitude for this special moment.
I am not suggesting to remain un-engaged, disconnected or callous to the suffering of others. I am proposing to turn on our inner heart light, think peaceful and loving thoughts and practice being a loving and kind human being every day - wherever we are, with whomever we interact. We can practice peace every day, every moment in a small way.
Dear Reader: My invitation to you is to be good to yourself, physically and emotionally. Allow lightness to be present. Wish yourself well and know that peace starts with us.