Someone rummaging through a second-hand bookstore unearthed a copy of Surprised by Joy, by C.S. Lewis. Inside the book was a letter, perhaps sent to the former owner of the book in which Lewis describes the feeling of joy: “real joy … jumps under one’s ribs and tickles down one’s back and makes one forget meals and keeps one (delightedly) sleepless o’ nights”.
This is the season of anticipation, of the longest day followed by ever-increasing light.
We hear ourselves responding to the question: “How is it going?” with “Everything is going well.”
The question is, can we be satisfied with just going well when you compare it against the concept of feeling joy?
When I read his description of joy as jumping under one’s ribs and tickling down one’s back – I want that!
What can I do to experience joy not just now, but throughout the year?
It’s time to get out your creative brain. it doesn’t need much coaxing – really.
Think of something you could give away that doesn’t cost a cent but gives one or all of the following: attention, memory, appreciation, smiles, or even better – belly laughs. You can create surprise by sharing a memory with someone who was part of it, a playlist of music that you love, a list of concerts coming up, plays, online tours, Zoom reunions,…the list never ends.
Here is a little meditation to get your brain going:
Sit in a straight chair.
Settle in and take three deep breaths and as you do start relaxing your body starting with your toes and ending at the top of your head.
Think of a place where you were incredibly happy. It can be from any time in your life. Notice who was there, what was happening, what you loved, what you appreciated, how you felf.
Now, bring gratitude and love into your heart for that time and place with all the peple with whom you shared it.
Next, think of a time when you fell in love. It might have been a person, but could be a puppy or anything that meant something to you.
Bring up the moment that you noticed you were in love. Bring back that feeling and let your heart remember how wonderful that feeling was.
Now, again, bring love and incredible gratitude into your heart for that time and experience.
Now, continue to breathe deeply and sit for a few minutes remembering how rich you are and how much you have to share.
Open your eyes.
Take a pad and mark down all the people that came to mind as you scanned through your memory.
Next, think of something that you can share that will give you joy and start.
As Cowboy Bob always said: “The hardest part is starting!.”