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The Secret to Joy

Sometime around a year ago I was having some episodes of depression. Speaking to a dear friend, I mentioned that I just felt there was no joy in my life, or at least, I couldn’t recognize it anymore. We talked for a while, and as we were walking I noticed a beautiful flower jutting out of a broken brick wall. “Look how beautiful that is, the contrast too, it’s lovely.” I said. To which she responded, "that, right there, that’s joy".

She made me smile, and that too was joy.In my mind I had decided that the only joy worth having was that sort of Julie Andrews -Sound of Music feeling, you know what I mean? Only if my body swelled with JOY and I wanted to shout it to the hilltops, that was the only joy worth having. And so, not having that happen often left me feeling joyless.

It really is amazing the bullshit we tell ourselves, and how willing we are to believe the stories we tell ourselves.

Over time, and with the help of my friend, I learned to see that there are thousands of tiny moments of joy everywhere around us. We need only open our minds and recognize when we see them. They may not be a Sound of Music version of joy, but those too may happen on occasion.

Isn’t it better that we can see the many small moments of joy and savor them throughout our day?Every once in a while my friend points out to be something that brings us joy, and as she does I open my eyes to the joy of, well, Joy. It’s become a game with us. A wonderful game that makes us laugh and smile and be happy, and that too is joy.

I’ve begun to make a habit of looking around me for these fragments of joy, noticing and savoring them for just a moment can brighten my day and my outlook on life.

A flower, the clouds in the sky, the sound of laughter, an image of someone I love, the smile of a stranger, the smell of leaves in the fall. All can bring us joy, if only for a moment and then another moment and then another.

The really cool thing? When you make this a habit your day is filled with a gentle, lasting joy. It builds on itself and dims the memories that bring fear or sadness.

How many of these tiny moments have you noticed recently?

I’d love to hear what brings you joy.