“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” ~Emily Dickinson
For most of my life, I’ve believed that at some point I would arrive someday at some magical set of circumstances that would allow me to be happy. I had moments of attaining this kind of happiness, but they never lasted because the conditions that caused the happiness always changed.
It has only been in the last year or so that I’ve really begun to grasp the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is indeed fleeting because it’s based on external things which are always inconstant.
But joy … joy grows out of being present to my own life. It flows naturally out of allowing myself to be the person I was born to be when I stop trying to twist myself into foreign shapes to please other people. Joy bubbles up when I stop over-focusing on other people’s lives in a co-dependent way and take responsibility for my own life. And this joy is independent of the circumstances and conditions of any given moment. It comes from knowing that I am fully alive, “the mere sense of living” as Emily puts it.
Today has been a day filled with celebration and kindnesses from many people, and that has made this a very happy day. It’s also been a day of hearing some very sad news about a few people who are now no longer with us and dealing with some challenging conversations.
But my joy at being alive today was unaffected by either the happiness of celebration or the sadness of loss.
The more I am learning to be present to my own life, to be aware of the sense of living, the more I find that joy is simply the air I breathe. And when I find that I have lost touch with it, all that is needed is a return to awareness.
And that is indeed joy enough.
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.