I met Leo Buscaglia twice when I was in grad school – he was just as you would imagine a person nicknamed “Dr. Love” to be. He believed in the absolute power of touch and when he hugged you, not only did you feel it vibrate through your body, you would see the sheer delight on his face at having had the experience. The experience of giving I would add, for certainly those of us who were not acolytes, were left a bit taken aback, amused and feeling good. Hesitant to adopt any practice that we doctoral candidates (with the hubris that comes with thinking you’re too-too smart) felt may be too cult-like. But there was unquestionably something to what the good doctor had to say as witnessed by his hypnotic lectures and laudable legacy.
So, I return to the Buscaglia quote I reblogged from Dr. Bill Wooten this morning….When assessing the life you have led, “[d]id you bring joy?” and “[d]id you find joy?” I don’t think these are easy or trite questions. We have known joy certainly – a love-filled relationship, the birth of a child, the delight in seeing a sunrise, the first bite of a ripe peach…But do we bring joy to another, to this life – or do we wait for joy to arrive? That’s a different question, for it implies the one thing that we all struggle with – recognizing that those things which are most important don’t seem to be about what’s in it for us. It isn’t all about us. It’s about what we bring, give, share – for the sake of others, not because of what we seek in return or exchange. The ‘tit-for-tat’ by which so many of our relationships can be defined. Bringing joy then is a pretty selfless act. And perhaps we are fortunate enough to see the result of our efforts, perhaps not. Yet either way, the importance is in the doing.
And finding the joy? Maybe it is a rhetorical question that is answered when we are conscious of what we bring into life. The idea that if we bring joy, we will find joy – if in nothing other than our actions. The joy in making people laugh, engage, love freely. The delight in treading gently enough on this earth so that we may experience all of its wonders for as long as possible. Maybe this is all obvious, maybe it is something that we know, but get lulled into the passive position of waiting for someone else to bring it anyway. Somehow though I think that two simple questions can reawaken our awareness of each other and why we’re here. And we can look to the universe to affirm that the joy we make, is equal to the joy we take (to paraphrase The Beatles).