Looking at beauty in the world is the first step in purifying the mind. Amit Ray
There are days when I go for a walk that I start out in a not so good mood. I start the walk with a whine about having to walk because I need the exercise, then go on to list all the things I’d rather be doing and all the things that need to be done that I don’t want to do. I complain about the weather, it’s too hot or too cold, too bright and sunny or too dark and cloudy, too windy or there is no wind. In general, just complaining and centered solely on myself.
Before long, I notice the trees or some flowers, birds chattering back and forth to each other, or a hawk soaring across the sky. I see a cat wandering or someone walking a dog, someone out for a run or walking with a baby in a stroller, or an elderly person who seems frail but still out and about enjoying a stroll. I stop and just look around at the world and I am stunned by the beauty of it all.
My mind lets go of the negativity and makes room for the positivity and possibilities that surround me. Nothing around me has changed, but within there is a cleansing that refreshes and energizes, not just my mind, but my body, too. My walk becomes something more than exercise. The heaviness in my heart is washed away and my eyes are open to the beauty of the world.
I laugh at my not so good mood and there is abundant joy!
Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter. Satchel Paige
Yesterday was my birthday. I know how old I am and it’s weird. I mean how did I get so old? And why don’t I feel old? Okay, I do know that I don’t physically feel the way I did when I was young. But I don’t feel as old as I thought I would feel when I was young and thought about old age. But then I didn’t really think I would ever be this old. Given my lifestyle back in the day I think most people thought the same.
One thing I do know for sure is that I am happier as an old woman than I was as a young one. That’s one of the gifts I have been given over the years, happiness. And the sense that I am okay. I’m not brilliant, or especially beautiful. Oh, I am smart enough and though I was not much to look at as a teen I did get better with time and age and was often told I was beautiful. And these days people seem to be surprised when they learn how old I am so I guess I’m doing the aging thing okay. Or maybe they are just humoring me. Whatever, it doesn’t matter.
Anyway, yesterday was a good day, a happy birthday. And now yesterday is gone and it is today which is the only day I can live so I’ll make the best of it. Everyday has its good and not so good and occasionally some pretty miserable stuff happening but in everyday there is joy. I am abundantly blessed and so thankful for another day of life.
Perhaps the most radical act of resistance in the face of adversity is to live joyfully. Ari Honarvar
How we handle adversity says a lot about who and what we are. Life is not always easy or pleasant. Bad, even horrible things sometimes happen. There are times and events that happen that hurt deeply and leave scars that will remind us of the trials and sorrows forever. What we do and don’t do during and after the hurt determines how we live, how we continue our journey.
When we live joyfully, the less than perfect circumstances and situations that we face are not as bad as they could be. Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness comes and goes. Yes, it feels so good when we are in that moment. But that moment is just that, a brief time of feeling special and good and well and happy, it isn’t lasting. Oh, there are fond memories of happiness and it is good to remember those times and happenings. Without the memories of happiness life would be small and trivial.
But joy is not dependent on what is or is not happening. It is a state of being that resides in the heart. It is a warmth that cannot be cooled by the day to day business of life. It is a strength that cannot be weakened by an adversary no matter how big or threatening. It is a knowing that doesn’t allow lies or false beliefs to become truth.
Joy is within all of us. It is not loud and bossy fighting to be felt or heard. It waits for us to acknowledge it, to welcome it, to be thankful, and allow it to do its work in us. Once we begin joyfully living no one can take it away from us. There are those who will try to take it away, even the devil will try. But once we claim that joy it’s ours forever.
“Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.” Wendell Berry
Most people seem to think joy is something that just happens and only when good things happen. Often they think that one is either a joyful person or not. I think these thoughts are a bit sad and I think they are confusing joy with happiness.
It is true, we are happy when good things happen and unhappy when bad things come our way. But joy does not come and go. It is not dependent on circumstances or events. Joy is not simply emotion like happiness. It is a seed planted within us, and when cultivated over time its roots draw on the well-spring of our heart and it grows. The health and strength of that well- spring requires our vigilant tending and care.
I am usually happy and in good spirits but not always and no one would call me a happy-go-lucky kind of person but there is joy within me. Joy, for me, is the foundation of my life. It wasn’t always so. There were many years when I didn’t know joy, it wasn’t a fact of my life. I denied its presence. I won’t go into how joy became a reality in my life, I will just say it had to do with getting to know and spending time with, you know Who.
Joy is given to each of us. Being filled with joy is a choice. That’s a fact!