Joy is not an emotion. Joy is a deep sense of well being. Joy comes from within.
Happiness is not the same thing as joy. Happiness is short lived and is event or experience driven.
Mindfulness has something to do with the here and now and helps to expand joy. Mindfulness can be trans-formative.
Dealing with stuff, ….anything…broken dishwashers, sick kids, snowstorms, is how we get through life everyday. I was slow in coming to this realization. I worried instead of dealing.
How we deal with stuff enables us to experience joy. For example:
When my three year old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, the nurse practitioner assigned to her case went over a loooong list of potential side effects from the chemotherapy and other procedures. Already shell shocked from hearing the diagnosis, I asked the NP how we would manage if something else “bad” happened. She replied, “We will deal with it.”
As it happened, those side effects occurred. All on the same day. Collapsed lung from improper port placement in her chest, deep vein thrombosis in her femoral artery from one of the meds…the kid was a mess! And I was clueless about what was going on and what needed to be done. Even so, there was no time to stress because the good people at the hospital knew how to deal. They saved her. They stayed in the present, moved quickly and decisively and dealt with the challenges at hand. And my child survived, and I survived and all crises were averted.
You would think this majorly serious life experience would have transformed me in some way and I would have learned that life is meant to be lived moment to moment – not in the past or the future. Things happen and problems arise and we can get through them if we deal….that life, in a good way, is about crisis management. And that alone makes a crisis not be a crisis. I didn’t get it. I’m a slow learner.
So, for decades, I stressed over the what-ifs. I worried about how things (everything) would turn out. I constantly compared myself to others to try and get a gauge on how I stacked up, to see if I was okay. I was stuck in the what-happened (past) or what’s-going-to-happen (future) and I worried about past and future outcomes. I never learned to deal and stay in the present moment. My ability to experience joy was seriously limited by my over thinking.
And then, these past few weeks I invested some quiet time thinking about staying in the here and now in hopes of finding joy.
I learned to pay attention and stay focused on the moment. I learned to keep my mind on what I was doing or reading or who I was talking to instead of wandering from thought to thought, into the future or past.
I learned that I have great resources to help me deal with just about anything. I won’t give in to worry or stress about the things I cannot change and will find a way to take care of things I can.
I learned that excuses are easy to come by and keep me from moving forward. I’ll be mindful to hear them when they creep into my consciousness.
Joy comes when you stay, body and soul, in the moment. That if, right now, things are good….then they are good. That’s my reality…that is my joy.