Can I be joyful when I am in significant pain? Not exactly, but I was introduced this week ("by accident") to Carolyn Hobbs, author of Joy, No Matter What: Make 3 Simple Choices to Access Your Inner Joy. She speaks of the joy of living:
Have the intention: “I choose joy right now, even in situations where it seems impossible.” Joy is always here in the present. Am I willing to hold all of my feelings… All of the conflict and stress… All of what I'm dealing with in this unlimited joy of being alive… Being awake… Being conscious. With each moment that we do that our quality of life changes…Our ability to be peaceful when everything feels in flux around us. Our capacity to feel joyful begins to grow and expand.Several times, as I brought myself to mindfulness within my pain, I understood that the joy of living was supporting me… Like the diaphragm supports a deep breath.
It sounds just like me to ask the question, "what does joy sound like?" The people of New Zealand, with the help of Bobby McFerrin, gave me an answer. Here's the first song created entirely from the sounds of New Zealanders experiencing joy:
Blogger Kate Kresse of Believe Anyway has started the Joy Forwarding Project, where folks report what they've done to spread joy and thereby get inspiration from each other.
Finally, despite some grumbling over software limitations, I had a great time fingerpainting on my iPad this week, seeking to express joy.