I woke up this morning with Danielle LaPorte's question on my mind...What does joy look like to me?
The weatherman had predicted rain. As sleep faded and awareness snuck in, I waited for the signs...the smell, the sound, the crispness. Definitely crisp and chilly but no rain. I had started thinking that joy would look like a steaming cup of peppermint mocha coffee on my back deck, protected from the rain but experiencing it...in one of my last days among the pine trees. I pictured my dog at my feet, fuzzy socks and hours stretched ahead of only doing what I most desire. No rain, and my picture of joy dissolved with only remnants of a feeling remaining.
I shifted, got out of bed and hugged the dog. Put on the fuzzy socks. Made the coffee. I daydreamed. Joy. Joy! Joy? Maybe looking at the Milky Way from a treehouse on an island, sitting on the lap of someone who fascinates me, cocktail in hand and a night of storytelling and frolicking in the immediate future. Mmmmm. That sounds juicy and joyful. I googled "Milky Way Treehouse" to find some images that might capture this joyful thought. I found, instead, a couple of amazing treehouse vacation destinations. One that offers an exclusive excursion by the hosts to a place where you hike to "the top of the world." There, the sun casts your shadow through the mist and forms a rainbow halo around your shadow on a cloud. I imagined this hike with my daughter, my active athletic daughter who only recently has shifted back to appreciating time with me. My heart expanded. This, I thought, is Joy with a capital J. But she is in school right now and there are pressing obligations on us both in the near future. We can plan this, for certain. But for now? Joy existed in that moment of imagining.
Joy. C'mon, joy...you constant companion so elusive to capture in word or image. I have a task at hand, cooperate please!
I abandoned the active part of my task and started passively looking for indications of joy around me. I found joy in dreaming. In imagining. In talking about it and having conversations about joy~full things we could all do together. I found joy in connection to my loves and hearing about their joy. It was in my heart and in my belly and it came from so many different places for so many different reasons. There was joy when my dog thought I was talking to him and acted like he was trying to talk back. There was joy in knowing that my boy is moving into the world with big enthusiastic dreams. There was joy that my Grandma is continuing to set the badass stubborn playful example, charming the staff at the hospital and being matter-of-fact about serious matters of the heart, literally. There was joy in getting it right at work in a complicated mess of things by just being present and honest and connecting. There was joy in dancing, moving my body while surrounded by people who I know love me exactly as I am. There was joy in my coffee cup with its peppermint schnapps or peppermint creamer. There was joy in my car streaming Pandora to my heart's desire driving through amazing countryside because I live in a beauty~full corner of the world. There was joy in my house with these creatures who share it with me and the way we move and live and laugh and love here. There was even joy to be found on my computer where I am connected and challenged and can explore and dream.
Joy isn't elusive to experience, but it is proving to be a bitch to describe or explain.
For me, joy is a laugh, a tickle deep in the gut and all around the heart. Joy is a moment, a lifetime...a moment that feels like a lifetime. Joy is feeling small under a huge sky and feeling protected and snuggly on a rainy day. It is the recognition of heart strings that have no understanding of distance or time. Joy is the aliveness of each cell when a song comes on the radio that resonates or when things fall into place like a secret plan that finally reveals its magnificence. Joy is truthbumps and twirling and the acceptance that you can't catch it with words or images but you can live it right out loud.
I'm filled with joy, especially in this moment...connected to you.