Joy – Part II

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).

35 thoughts on “Joy – Part II

  1. These are such great questions, Mimi, and as you say, more difficult to answer than one might imagine. I’ve come to realize that bringing joy can be much easier than one might initially think–a kind word, a soft touch–these simple (and oftentimes largely unconscious acts) often bring the recipient more joy than expensive gifts or lots of fanfare. And by the same token, finding the joy becomes easier the older I get. Hearing a dear friend say that a note has brought her sunshine or solace in a dark moment, seeing a child laugh with delight at a silly joke or slight of hand, seeing the smile that breaks across a loved one’s face when he or she sees yours, these are the things that bring me joy. In an earlier chapter of my life, I had lots of “stuff” that was supposed to bring happiness, contentment, delight–and sometimes it did, but it’s transient, and in the end it’s just “stuff.”. And it’s usually not what you remember in those quiet moments of reflection or those dark and lonely times—not by a long shot… Thx for all the joy YOU bring. I can assure you it’s a lot….. Xoxo

    • Isn’t it interesting that as we get older, all those things that we thought had value aren’t even worth being recalled in the same category as a child’s smile, the pricelessness of a friendship that came as a gift from out of the sky, a really good belly laugh, love that makes you feel, well, loved. I will never remember the car I drove ten years ago – I will remember the times when I brought joy. I will be grateful for the times I found it..As I am grateful for you. xox

  2. Mimi, a few year ago I made a conscious choice to participate more often in “Life giving” options than “Life taking” ones, and spend more time in bringing joy to others. I find joy in most aspects of living and don’t “catastrophize” over life’s events. This takes work as it is easy to be seduced into thinking negatively. One gets caught in “shoulding” all over themselves . . .Thanks for a great post. Take care, Bill

    • Ah Bill, I’m guilty of ‘shoulding’ all over myself…and of not building strong enough boundaries so that I don’t totally absorb the pain of other people – but that’s a story for another day. I find it easy, preferable for my overall sense of mind and affirming to be a joyful presence on this earth. It’s a happier place to be. Thanks for your comments..Mimi

    • Laughing – yet another similarity…Why do you think I keep going to the gym to strengthen my core?? I’m tired of discovering just how soft my underbelly is. 🙂

  3. Just last night at dinner, we were talking about the simple joys – the clouds here yesterday were amazing. I stopped my car to look at, enjoy and take a photo and then we talked about that at dinner. I was laughing because I recalled my mom finding joy in such simple things and how I could not see that when I was a teenager/young adult, and then a ‘look at me now’ kind of comment; finding joy in the notes from my son, the witty banter with a sales person that leaves us both laughing, the clouds, dancing silly in the living room with my kiddo – the little things that are too big for any box. I love this post and the questions that will now be running through our heads. I especially love the reminder to be ever conscious about delivering joy to others. xo

    • Thanks Bonnie – I think that’s the key…if we find joy, we will bring joy. In it’s most fundamental sense, can a person find joy and not recognize that wonderful contagion in the state of mind? Hope that makes sense..xo

  4. Great post and it is amazing how simple the small acts are – the thank yous – the letters – the small act of assistance from another – the kind word or gesture – yet can be so profound in the giving and receiving of joy to and from others.

    • Isn’t that the truth? Each small act is given with thought and care and received with such gratitude. And no surprise – those are the gestures and acts that are remembered..

  5. If we are truly blessed, we learn early not to take these little diamonds in the rough moments for granted. If we do, we will find, further down the road, that those little promises of unselfish, unplanned, and unconditionally given love at the root of our childhood giggles, slip into cool sheets on a hot day, hot soup on a cold day moments, are the ones we remember, love, and MISS the most. The ones that remind us that a smile or a hug mean more than any ‘thing’ ever could. If we are very lucky, we’ll have time to recognize, recapture, and rejoice in them with those that gave us those small/huge joys…if we are very, very lucky, we’ll then remember to do our best to be one who gives those same moments and memories of unfiltered joy to others…If we are not, then we will have missed the point entirely. Some days are a struggle to SEE these brilliantly hued facets of those diamonds in the rough, as they can be out shown by the superfluous glitz or buried by the day to day sludge that builds up in our lives…but seeing is not what it is important. It’s the knowing from the feeling and the giving from the heart that matter. These are what make our spirits sparkle. These are what make YOU sparkle Mimi…you know, you feel, you give…JOY.
    xoxoxo

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