“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are." Marianne Williamson
Depending on your internal vision, joy may hold a color for you. It may hold a smell, a texture or a memory. It can bring forth a giggle or a warm feeling of satisfaction.
For me, recently, it was the texture of fresh brown sugar. The joy that I envisioned included baking fresh cookies as a child and getting my fingers encrusted in that glorious golden sweetness.
Pure heaven. My color of joy.
I also had another glimpse of joy yesterday as well. I was visiting my hometown and my mom. On Sundays, we used to eat this amazing Mexican sweet bread along with other glorious pastries as we listened to my dad’s oldies but goodies and read the Sunday comic strips. I decided to indulge myself one last time before today’s new start.
I traipsed downtown and waited in a line outside the door as I guess everyone else had the same brilliant thought as I did. I grabbed one of each pastry, but the Mexican style sugar cookies in the shape of a heart were really calling my name. They could easily change my waistline into that of a sphere. You would all be proud of me. I did exert some self-control as I only bought 14. There were only two of us so do the math! Needless to say, they were inhaled by my mom and me. The giggle of joy happened while eating that first cookie standing in the kitchen and simultaneously realizing we had cinnamon sugar all over our lips and our shirts.
Unadulterated joy! Pure and simple.
I did not need a new car, new home décor or new goals to find my joy. Joy is a short three letter word that can be found between the pages of a book, between the inhales and exhales of a harried time and between the unspoken words that you share with a loved one. Joy can be found with the sun hitting your face. It can be found with the sound of the gentle rain. It can be found in the delight of a baby’s giggle. It can be found in the rainbow after the storm.
Sounds Hallmark almost, right? Well, here is the real scoop. Joy can be found in places that would not really make a great Hallmark card. Joy can be found in the icky parts of life. Joy can be found in the struggles. Joy can be found in the hard decisions that honor choice. Joy can be felt with achievement through challenge. Joy can be found on the road to hope.
In looking back at this last year, my focus was on resilience, and I believe that I rocked it. I started the 2021 year with a shattered oven window (my doing) and a 7th hip surgery. I continued through the year with some ongoing hip struggles, maintaining a positive outlook, regaining strength and finishing up a 200-hour yoga certification. I have found joy by being able to share with others breath and calmness.
For many, this year has not been a Hallmark card. It has been challenging, torturous, life altering mixed in with some joy along the way. My phrase and my focus this year is simply "choosing joy". I will choose joy through the yuck. I will choose joy through the sunlight and through the darkness. My color of joy will be a rainbow of textures, smells, experiences and thoughts.
Find a focus for your year. One that speaks your name. One that is achievable and has the potential to be awe inspiring. Find hope.