When was the last time you felt joy?
The last time you were so excited that you jumped up and down?
The last time you felt as if there wasn’t a care in the world?
Are you currently racking your brain trying to think of the last time? If you are, I imagine it’s been a long time. For me, I was surprised as I felt it today. I was running outside. My heart was full and I was having one of those moments that comes and goes so fast that we can’t even remember feeling it. A moment we all long for. I’ll call it JOY but I know it was more.
A song came on over my IPOD that I hadn’t heard in years and in an instant I was crying. So there I was running down the streets of San Diego crying. I knew immediately that anyone who was driving by me would think that I was suffering from something. And it was something. It just wasn’t suffering.
I was filled with more joy then I could ever explain. It came over me and blanketed my body in such way that I was left breathless. So there I was running the streets, crying and breathless. I knew I had to stop but I couldn’t stop because I was afraid that if I stopped then this moment of clarity would end. And with that my joy would leave.
So I didn’t stop. I kept going because my feet were bringing me life. I felt them underneath me as they glided one foot in front of the other. I thought to myself how lucky I was to have them. They’re large and ugly: a size 9 ½ to be frank. I only tell you that to reveal another hidden imperfection that exists within me. I’m a small petite woman who has to shop for the largest size shoe. But I digress because I continue to beat huge suckers down everyday and still every morning I wake up and they hop out of bed and do their thing. And no matter how many times I stub them, or step on glass, or even burn them with hot sand they keep going.
How lucky am I?
Then I looked down at my bruised, battered and scarred arms. I remembered where each and every scar came from and I think about all that these arms do. All the things I make them do over and over again. They lift things I could never imagine. I recall a time about a month ago when my dog, Daisy refused to continue walking on a hike. What resulted was I had to pick up that fifty pound bundle of love and walk her for a half a mile like a baby. Did my arms hurt? Of course they did but they did it and my arms, better yet my whole body continues to amaze me.
How lucky am I?
I continued to think about everything I’ve ever wished for. Some of my dreams have come true while others have not. But my biggest one, my dream of living by the beach has been my biggest dream that has come to life. And it’s ironic in a way because being right here, running the beach is what brings me life and that life brings me joy.
I honestly think we forget that joy exists because we live a life filled with responsibilities. We’re always pushing towards the next big goal, experience or responsibility. But I wholeheartedly believe that if we spent more time in the present moment we might feel more joy. See it’s fleeting, it comes and goes and if we’re not careful or present we’ll miss it and then we’ll wonder why we haven’t felt it.
While I realize this wasn’t meant to be an article about being present or being grateful but I need you to know that I believe that those feelings are paramount to feeling joy. We can’t be joyful without being grateful. We can’t be joyful without being present.
What we can be is present, grateful and filled with joy.
So if you’re looking for moments that are filled with belly filled laughs, glossy eyed tears of joy and child like wonder look around you and I promise you’ll find a reason. But just in case here's a few more ideas that may help ensure that joy becomes ever present in your life.
Pull out your old favorite movie and watch it as if it were the first time.
Go get an ice cream cone or your favorite treat.
Do what you used to do as a child.
Skip, hop, jump.
Swim in a lake, go fishing, belly jump into a pool, hop on a swing, get a jump rope and see how many jumps you can go.
Get some sidewalk chalk and draw your family.
Ride a bike.
Hold someone’s hand.
Volunteer. This one though I promise you nothing will ever bring you more joy then giving to someone who has less.
Life comes and goes and nothing will last forever. Don’t allow yourself to get lost in the monotony of the day to day or even the hopes of what will come. Instead find a little more time to be joyful, present and grateful in the moments that you’re in.
Love and light,