The past few months have been challenging ones for me. I have found myself scurrying around more than I prefer, taking on this task and then that task, going pretty much non-stop. Most recently, I have needed to be “on” much of the time, meeting new people, taking on new responsibilities and actually performing with my singing groups (yes, I have two now!). All of this, coupled with my chronic insomnia, has left me feeling depleted and stressed more than I would like to be.
This past weekend I sang with my new choir. Since that time a line from one of our songs has stuck with me, so much that I finally stopped and really thought about the words that were looping continuously through my brain. “Let our joy be so triumphant”…what a powerful statement that is!
Now thinking or writing about joy is not new for me. I believe strongly in the importance of maintaining a focus on gratitude for the many blessings in life and that often results automatically in a renewed sense of joy. I also adhere to the notion that doing activities that bring us joy are paramount. For me, this means making sure that I devote enough time to music, fiber arts, and being active in nature. The joy I experience through these activities brings new life and enthusiasm for everything that I do.
I also believe strongly that no one else can rob me of joy. Joy is an emotional feeling state that is internal to each of us. So although it would be so much easier to say that a particular person made me angry or unhappy, no other person really has that power. We are the ones who, through our point of focus and interpretation of events, allow that to happen.
Even so, it can be challenging when under stress or physical depletion to feel the life-giving power of joy. It is easier in these circumstances to allow feelings of being overwhelmed, worried, or discouraged to take center stage. But joyful feels so much better! And when I am joyful, there is a natural relaxation that takes place. Suddenly rather than working so hard to “make things happen,” circumstances fall into place in a wonderful manner.
“Let your joy be so triumphant” … Let that joy rise above all else, to triumph over the darkness, despair, worry, fear, anxiety, numbness, irritation or even general sense of well-being. Finding joy when you can or choosing a joyful attitude is a step in the right direction. But letting joy be triumphant takes it so much farther!
A few weeks ago, I went on a zip line course high in the redwood trees we have here in Northern California. I must admit when we stood on the first little platform and saw the line going over the deep ravine, I felt more terror than joy. Adrenaline was pulsing through my body and I seriously questioned my sanity in doing this. But by the time they snapped this photo, joy had emerged triumphant (although I swear it took a couple of days for the adrenaline to subside!).
So what do you think of all this? How does joy bring new life to you? What thoughts or activities are likely to bring you to that emotional state of joy? When is joy triumphant?