Find your joy they tell me. But where are the instructions? Is it outside, inside? External, internal? Both? I am literal and need a road map. But I have referents.
Looking into the face of my child, both as a baby and a grown man, that is joy. But sometimes when I look at the grown man I also see the pain of that growing and my heart hurts even with the joy I feel. There is nothing that compares to how happy I am to be a mother to a remarkable man, that is a joy I will take to the end of my life – it is always there.
Cooking for people I love and knowing that they love me back, that is joy. Even with cut fingers and oven rack burns, their enjoyment of my food is joy, no matter the pain.
Reading something beautifully written that evokes emotion, that is joy despite my slight feeling of envy around the talent that created it. Once in a while writing something that I think is beautiful and resonant makes me very happy.
Looking up at the moon and stars on a very clear and beautiful night and thinking love and dreams are still possible. That is joy, despite the fact that I am alone and sometimes it is painful.
Wandering through a museum in an exhibit that is new to you, seeing what others have created and how they were inspired. That is it’s own kind of joy. Going back to a familiar museum and artists that you know and love, that is a comfortable kind of joy.
The sacred act of making music. Now that is a pure joy. How do you describe the feeling of blending your voice with other voices to make a cohesive whole, a round and beautiful sound. How to communicate the joyfulness of losing yourself in beating a drum, a tambourine or a woodblock. A simple morning walk is made joyful with music in your ears, the unexpected shuffling of songs. Making music is the act of creation; and joy. And what is odd is that it is fleeting. Unlike other art forms it is not concrete (yes it can be recorded), you sing and it is gone. You hear it, it resonates, and it is over. That is the only pain – it is over.
Sometimes a clear blue sky, a sun shiny day, puffy clouds, blooming flowers and gratitude to be alive. That is joy although it often does not endure. But it comes again another day with any luck and an open heart.
Isn’t that what joy is like? Both internal and external. You create it, you feel it, it resonates and then it is gone. Until the next time.