I've been doing a deep dive into joy this week, and the inevitable question around sustaining it has come up. My ultimate conclusion is that maybe we don't sustain it, but that it is available to step into at any time. The truth is, life can be filled with or riddled with or dotted with inevitable disappointments, challenges, and frustrations. As well as so many other things that might be able to take us out of our joy. I've been pondering whether joy is a stream we flow in or whether it comes in bursts.
I found myself declaring in my morning journal today that I choose joy again. It may be all about awareness. I am feeling into all of this this week; it's been an expedition into the soul's landscape, seeking to discover where joy might be found there.
It's all there in my soul. If I were to hop online and look up different kinds of emotions and states of being and make a list, I'd find them all there in the landscape of my soul, and yours. It's rather like the Earth. All the landscapes are there, available to us. Where do we choose to live? Where to travel? To vacation? To explore? To wander? To be restored? What do we drive through on our way to work? Where do we go for a picnic? Where do we get our food and our water and the air that we breathe? Are there places we avoid? How do we travel?
Each choice contributes to the quality of our experience.
So is joy a stream we flow in or does it come in bursts?
I experience joy both ways. In the morning, as I wake and choose how I will come into the day, I find myself stepping into a stream of joy. This morning it's once again been the fragrance of peaches on the air in my kitchen that keeps my awareness in this stream. It's my long day at work again today and I know that sustaining joy as flow may be difficult, so I commit to checking in with myself throughout the day, sinking into awareness and gratitude to help me to feel joy as bursts of energy that will sustain me through any challenges, frustrations, disappointments, annoyances I may encounter as I move through the day.
Instead of trying to sustain joy, I allow joy to sustain me. Whether it's by flow through gentle awareness or by bursts of revitalizing energy.
Landmarks are important. They help us to remain aware of our surroundings. I can take a peach with me to work and, just by enjoying the fragrance and then the taste of its sweetness and its juiciness, I can reconnect with joy in the moment.
It's the loving thing to do.
The Summer of Self-Love is a daily writing practice created to harness three months for thriving. The goal at the end is to host a dinner party. Sounds like an odd Hero's Journey, doesn't it? Most of them usually are.