Letting Joy In

I decided about a month ago that my intention for this year was going to be joy, no matter what. It’s bold, I know, but joy is what the world needs, especially when it’s hard. I learned this lesson years ago when my daughter was going through a very tough time. It’s hard on a mom to see your baby suffer, but every challenge has its gifts.

The amazing gift I received was to learn that I wasn’t doing her any good by treading the deep waters in fear, being barely able to breathe. Where I realized I could be most useful was standing on the shore, being a lighthouse, so she could choose the light when she was ready.

In service to these challenging times, I’m determined to find my joy in all of it. I miss my laugh. I have to say, I’ve got a good laugh. It will light up a room if you really let me go for it. Did you ever see the Buddha on the train video? It’s about the monk who takes his seat on the subway and begins to crack up laughing until he is laughing so hard others begin to laugh also. Pretty soon, the entire subway car is laughing. I just love this. We get so caught up in holding everything so tightly that there is no room for the light to enter.

As synchronicity would have it, my writing coach, Kristin Hanggi (director, author, teacher and The Queen of Joy) was leading a class on Joy, so of course I signed up. One of my best friends signed up with me, during the epic ice storm, and off we went.

The joy came in a lot easier than I thought it would. That first week, I was finding joy in everything. It was as if fairy dust had been sprinkled on everything. I was inviting joy into my interactions, into my work, into making dinner. Joy knows how to put the sparkle in every situation. Joy adds music. Joy brings out the frills. Joy tends to the finishing touches that make the moment special, because every moment is special! But when you are too busy getting through the day, you miss it.

One morning, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I was grumpy. I was not just a little grumpy, I was grump grumpy!

I warned my husband and he stood his ground, he knows the drill. I couldn’t shake it off. I figured that maybe I had reached my capacity for how much goodness I would allow myself, so now some part of me was just trying to sabotage the whole thing. Even though I was aware of this, I just couldn’t shake the funk. The bad mood was winning. I decided to see if my Joy would join me in my grumpy mood. Why not?

This immediately inspired me to put on my baby pink polka dot robe, my best heels, my new pink flapper wig called “Ruby,” and to make myself a Tumeric Chai latte. Then I took myself out onto the front porch to enjoy my golden hot drink in my favorite mug, and just as I was starting to take my first sip, the neighbor’s car alarm started going off. And it just kept going.

Now my husband was just returning from walking our dog, Luna, and as he passed me, he made a comment, “Now I wonder why the universe is giving you this?”

I think it was because I had already welcomed joy to my grumpy party, that I actually allowed his question. I started to wonder, why would the universe be amplifying my emotions with an obnoxious car alarm, when all I am trying to do is to get calm and let joy in? Then I had an interesting “Aha!” moment. There is actually another choice here. Instead of resisting the noise, what would happen if I leaned in and allowed myself to get really mad and dramatic about it.

So that’s what I did. Well I didn’t actually get up and start shaking my fists and stamp my feet at the car alarm, but I imagined myself doing it. The image I had in my mind of me, in my cute little get-up and hairdo, getting all dramatic about something I had no control over, cracked me up! And there it was, my laughter!

Do you know what happened then? As if on cue, the car alarm stopped! The universe was conspiring with my joy to bring my laughter back, and when I stopped resisting, I found it.

To sum it up: For a good time, always invite joy to the party, especially if the party’s no fun.

Second, whatever you resist persists, so try leaning into it in some creative way.

Lastly, remember, it’s all conspiring for you, even when it feels like it’s not.