What's Joy Got To Do With It?
(Sung to the tune of Tina Turner's What's Love Got To Do With It? And written in a mini skirt that would make Tina proud.)
Joy. Boy, that's a loaded word. AmIRight?
With that one syllable you may envision a powder puff fairy who has said something beyond enraging. Leaving you infuriated.
Maybe some of us have a reaction to this word because we have a hard time envisioning (this enraging) Joy in our lives. Maybe it's something we imagine other people experience. Or maybe it's a saved emotion for a wedding day or the birth of a child, and outside of those experiences we don't think it belongs in our daily lives.
But I think it does.
Hold on. Keep reading.
I'm not trying to say this in some holier-than-thou attitude that you "Should" have Joy in your days, and if you don't, you're some kind of failure.
(WARNING IF YOU THINK ANY OF THAT, TURN OFF THE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD FOR JUST A SEC AND HEAR THIS: )
Joy isn't something we necessarily experience every 24 hours, but by putting it on the TO-DO list, I think we'll see it pop up at least a couple times in our month. Or week, even.
I don't think Joy is bestowed upon the "deserving."
And I don't expect it to spontaneously erupt into our mundane day unprovoked.
I think we need to provoke it. Yeah, let's egg it on. Let's bait Joy into descending upon us. Even if just for 5 minutes.
Because, damn, maybe you need that 5 minutes.
I believe that we catch a moment of it when we do the things we love to do. Like, from way back.
The things that made us smile when we were 5.
Backtracking our histories to a time when PLAY was very much on the agenda.
...When our actions were intuitive and we had a very clear sense of what we liked and what we didn't. What made us smile, we naturally did more of. But do we do that now? As adults have we found ways to feel guilt in the purest of pleasures...as in there could be a more "valuable" use of time.
Should laundry supersede a one-person dance party?
Would clearing out the last of the inbox be a better use of time than a 5-minute drive blasting music and singing at the top of your lungs?
Will a night in coloring/drawing/playing a crossword or brain game be more meaningful than a night out for networking/ work dinner/ blind date?
We get so bogged down in the goal of life (which--before we know it--could end up being merely the cumulation of the goal of work, the goal of housework, the goal of all those random tasks on our to-do list) that we forget about the journey.
Accomplishing tasks is great! But so often the goal posts move. What we thought we were charging toward is suddenly not the destination anymore. So instead of that non-stop charging, could we have taken just 5 or 50 minutes for ourselves somewhere in there and been the better for it?
Or stated another way - Does the time spent in angling for Joy provide a Return on Investment?
Yes, I think it does. EVEN IF you didn't get to the actual Joy part.
Because you spent some time serving YOU and those deep, vulnerable, sensitive parts of yourself that were out there for the world to see when you were 5 but might have been in hiding since.
Cutting to the chase here:
REMEMBER HOW IMPORTANT YOUR HAPPINESS IS.
(Yes, I'm yelling. And shaking my fists. Clearly.)
And know that just the attempt of dusting off that which AT ONE POINT MADE YOU PURELY HAPPY, even when you were only 5 years old, has merit. Even if that Joy feeling is with you for just for a second*, and even if it doesn't come around again for another two months, it's ABSOLUTELY WORTH YOUR TIME. (Not yelling. Just really impassioned.)
(*How do you know when it hits you? A grin is a darn good indicator. Or if your lungs feel big and huge. Or if your entire body feels sublime. Or your brain is firing signals that say, This is amazing. We rock!)
Now, if you've been reading this far and are on board for some of this Joy business but can't quite remember where your Joy lies, I'll throw out a few suggestions.
Could it be found in...
Guitar-picking, piano-tinkling, harp-strumming (If C, please contact me, bc you're probably a badass and I want to get down with your harp jam.)
Playing with your dog or cat
(Or if you're petless or your pets don't perform as desired...looking at you, Cat.) Watching a really funny dog or cat video on YouTube
Singing (preferably LOUDLY and with no shame)
Crossword puzzles (at the level that is challenging but do-able)
Getting better at something, seeing improvement (from ballet classes to video games)
Learning a new skill (carpentry would be way cool. Yeah, sure it's your life, but OMG I would love to have more carpenter friends.)
And if those don't strike a chord, think about YOU.
What did you spend time doing when you were 5, 6, 7, 10, 12? What just made you happy? Comic books? Drawing? Running around without intention? Playing in sand?
What do you do when no one's watching? What do you imagine yourself doing when you drift off in a day dream?
Would these activities still produce a level of joy? I don't know. There's only one way to find out.
We will never know how transformative being in a Joy state is until we feel it. And it will not just descend upon us. If we want to drink a Joy cocktail, we must figure out our unique mixers and shake 'em up.
For me, I know that dancing and singing gets me every time.
And because I have LITERALLY zero shame, I will show you what that looks like. Because, hey, maybe if you see me be fearlessly childlike, you'll give it a try too.
This is a Joy place for me.
Dancing. LIKE CRAZY.
(Thank you, Starship. #childofthe80s)
(As you might be able to see in the room, I COULD have used this time to put clothes up. But trust me, a 10 minute dance party was WAY more productive. And of course, I got to cleaning up the room later. After I was all hopped up on that Joy.)
Now, if you do know what brings you joy but you're not putting it into practice, please leave a note here. Think of this as the first step to making it actually happen in your life.
OR if you're already totes a pro at cultivating Joy in your daily life, I would love it if you would leave a note because it could inspire others.
Last ask: Tell me what's up!
If you liked the silliness of this video, let me know.
I am happy to share more middle of the night non-so-thrivey confessions and more mini dance parties.
If anything I do makes you smile, tell me about it! Because I'd love to make you smile more.
I will always embarrass myself for a good cause.