I came to the conclusion this morning that joy radiates through an open heart. I’m surprised at how when looking up close at the idea today, it seemed new and insightful. I’m sure this is a truth I have known deep down inside for a long, long time. Maybe it feels new because it is so deeply rooted that I have to dig down to really see it?
Reading one of the last chapters in My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen (“The Way It Is”) inspired my exploration. She describes a person whose eyes twinkle in a special way, a person whose sheer joy emanates through his dancing – I’ve seen people like that. I aspire to be a person like that – a person so overflowing with joy that those who are with her experience joy, too.
The first time I think I really thought about joy was at a weekend leadership retreat outside of Chicago. Each participant was asked to identify something that they wanted from their workshop experience. I said “find my joy”, not having any clue exactly where the idea came from. I decided to be curious about it. (By the way, I did find my joy, on the second day, when I was running out to Lake Michigan at sunrise. I think running must loosen the soil around the roots so that it’s easier to get to.)
So what have I discovered about joy? Joy is available to me at any time, I just have to want it. Joy is sometimes a choice. Slowing down the mind loosens the soil around my heart, where the roots of joy are deep. It’s possible to find joy even in scary and vulnerable times, and it often comes to me as I’m running and writing poetry.