Be.Hold. JOY (& my 2014 manifesto)
I find ecstasy in living — the mere sense of living is joy enough.
– Emily Dickinson
I took some time on New Year’s Eve day to be thoughtful about my 2013. What was I celebrating? What was I just as happy to be leaving in the year’s wake? And in what ways was I preparing myself to be open for what 2014 has in store for me? I paused at that one.
Can you relate to this? I can become so consumed by all that I’m about that I forget to clear myself out for the unexpected. And so often, the unexpected is waaaaaay better than anything I could have planned. In my experience, the unexpected comes in the form of Joy. It’s often a bit startling, nearly always spontaneous, and fully embodied. Realizing this, last Tuesday morning, I began to smile, and then I began to laugh…and then I began to really, REALLY laugh. Loud. For about 5 minutes. It felt so good and hearing my own voice only prompted me to laugh more.
And when the laughter slowed and subsided, the words on my lips were, “Be Joy.” In this New Year, whenever possible, I want to Be Joy.
I will forget this desire. I will forget it for moments – or days – at a time. I will, once again, become consumed, or I will be overtaken by fears and anxieties that compete for my attention. And so, considering this on New Year’s eve, I thought about all the people in my life who, through their own practice of Being Joy, remind me that I, too, can make that choice. AND, that even when my own Joy feels far, far away, I can Hold the Joy of another.
You’ve noticed this, right? The delight that comes from tasting the joy in the story of a friend, a child’s face walking down the street, or recalling something funny that happened the night before? (If not, please watch this and let me know what happens – and I mean it: I want to hear from you!). SO, if we can’t Be Joy, we can Hold Joy. And then, Behold! Joy abounds. Why am I on a New Year’s jag about Joy?
Because things are dire, that’s why. Because the world needs us and it needs us to show up in our Joy.
In the final days of a year, as is my tradition, I created my Vision Board for the year-to-be. This manifesto created itself, with zero prompting. It was revealed in Joy and it offers a string of instruction that, to me, feels timely and perfect to share in the dawn of 2014.
Be.Hold. JOY! And from this place, let’s make some good change roll!
Love this post on being Joy, on not forgetting. Or at least remembering often.
Though I am also trying to finish the final-ish draft of my prison thesis in the next few short weeks, I am also at the end of a round the world trip, and am now down in Brazil for three weeks, as the resident photographer and honeymoon third wheel at my friends’ clown wedding (seriously, sort of). As I read that the North freezes, it is very warm tropical summer down here right now. A few days ago, both sides of the wedding families walked down to the beach to meet for a big and very slow family lunch at the nearby restaurant, mostly to avoid dirty dishes. I was sort of accidentally still in my pajamas. (This is the pace here.)
After the meal, the bride and I ended up, still in our clothes, such as they were, in the resort restaurant’s swimming pool, which had a beautiful fake island, lushly covered with very real tropical plants. And it was also falling apart at the edges. And we were 8 feet from the real beach, and 15 feet from the real jungle. And all the water everywhere was 88 degrees F. And it was all so perfect, and so perfectly absurd, that we just started giggling, and then laughing, and then laughing hard, and couldn’t stop for about 8 minutes.
I agree, so thoroughly. So good, to have the world split wide open in this way, with healing frequency, with so much always going on, everywhere. Blessings and joy to all, in the wide-open, unknown new year.
Love this and Love YOU, Lauren! I am posting the Laughter Yoga link – contagious! I have often wondered why this does not happen more often?! Yes! Keep them coming, Lauren!