This month, as I focus on joy, pain and weariness are weighing me down. "How can I be joyous," I wonder, "when I hurt and am exhausted?"
I remind myself of the second part of the promise, "...without reason." There is a wonderful history of oppressed peoples living with joy and celebration amidst their troubles. I know the human spirit is capable of it; I just need to find my way.
Tools I can use:
Music: Country and gospel music provide me with a legacy of folks using music to transform pain. (I just spent far too long on YouTube watching versions of "Mourning into Dancing") Yesterday, I finished rewriting the lyrics of "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" to be about chronic illness. Music cheers me up and gives me energy.
Color: Speaking of cheering me up, color says joy to me. For the next week, I will try to make a joyful picture each day, "fingerpainting" on my iPad.
Movement: Moving our bodies gives us joy; that's why dancing is fun. It gets a little harder for me, as I can't voluntarily move much of my body. I can however chair dance. I can wiggle my body to music. This gets me music and movement simultaneously!
Play: a friend of mine sent me this video, reminding me of the importance of play. I am strategizing how to increase games and silliness in my everyday life.
There is a fullness in the moment of play that can be considered a way in which the universe is expressing its own magnificence and joy. In a moment of deep play, in a moment of deep love, in a moment of deep celebration, that's why the universe exists, There. Not for what it leads to, but for that moment. -- Brian Swimme
I'll report next week on the results of these experiments.