What is Joy? Part 2: Joy is Being Present

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From the time I began to talk about my experiences with keeping a Joy Journal, people have asked me, “Why Joy?” and “What is Joy vs. Happiness or Gratitude?” This Blog post is the second in a four part series sharing some of my thoughts exploring Joy.

Part 2: Joy is Being in the Present

“The breath, body and heart all live in the present time. Joy lives in the present time. It’s the mind (where our awareness is so easily snagged in past memories and future plans) that rarely stays in the present for more than a few seconds.” — Carolyn Hobbs: Joy No Matter What

Children often understand instinctively how to be fully in the present moment, and being open to Joy. A friend of mine was recently sideswiped in a car accident with her 4 year-old son in the car. Both were thankfully unhurt, but badly shaken up and in shock. As the situation sank in, the son began to cry hysterically with large gasps and sobs. After a few minutes though, he looked up — and his eyes, still wet with tears, lit up – “Mommy, LOOK!” The police lights danced through the car and the sirens filled his ears, and he experienced a moment of pure delight. Later, after he got to wear the officer’s cap while the accident was cleared and the police reports completed, he proclaimed to his mother that this was “the best day EVER.”

I don’t imagine our rational adult brains would allow most of us to be Joyful in the above situation, but it does serve as a reminder that Joy seeps in when we let it – when for a moment we live a little more in our hearts and a little less dominated by our minds.

Dozens of people have kept Joy Journals and shared their experiences with me. Many of them talked about the Joy they experienced from children, seeing the world through their eyes. By choosing to acknowledge the Joy felt, and then recording it, many Joy Journalers found that they reconnected with their own sense of wonder they had when they themselves were children.

Joyfully yours,

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