Feel the Joy

Do you ever just play?  Do you allow yourself to do things that bring you joy for no reason at all?  What pleasures in life do you experience?

I have a lot of hobbies and passions - photography, yoga, dancing, astrology, cooking, etc.  I did them all in my 20’s.  I seemed to have the time and the mental space.  Somewhere along the way in my 30’s I got too busy.  Or maybe I felt like I needed to focus on one thing because that’s what grownups do. What makes me feel most alive and present, however, is doing things for no reason other than the pure joy of doing them.  When I do, I don’t need a reason to be happy.  I just am. 

I’ve loved and still do love to be active, to practice yoga, to take and edit photos, to read about health and well-being, to play in the snow, to play tennis, savor every bite of a lovingly prepared meal, and that's just the beginning.  It's very easy to see some of these things as means to a certain end--getting stronger or more flexible, staying fit, losing or gaining weight or even simply quelling hunger.  But needing something to have a purpose or be a means to a certain end sucks all the joy out of those activities and out of life!

I remember freshman or sophomore year in high school my father was helping me pick electives.  He encouraged me to take a computer class instead of an art class.  He said that computers were the way of the future.  I took that class, but I always wondered if taking that art class would have sparked my creative side.  In college, he also convinced me to take a German class vs an Italian one.  Again he was trying to set me up for the real world in the best way he could.  I should have taken that Italian class because I didn’t enjoy German at all!  

The point is: do what feels good.  Do what you want to do.  Do things for the joy of doing them, not because they’re important to do or someone says they will be good for you in the long run.  You may not get "anywhere" with them, but at least you’ve enjoyed the ride! 

You say you don't have time?  Feeling joy does not mean doing big things that take up a lot of time.  Here are some ideas of how you can bring more joy into your every day:

  • As soon as you wake up say to yourself "I'm so blessed to be alive on this beautiful new day."
  • Notice something beautiful and miraculous every day
  • Pick up that hobby that you have almost forgotten about and see if it brings you back to a joyful past
  • Savor a new dish or dessert
  • Notice your breath
  • Smile for no reason
  • Smile at a stranger
  • Take a short walk outdoors

How do you bring joy into your life?