Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Zen of Joy

There is a difference in the way I think of happiness and joy. Happiness refers to a current state of mind. It can be intense, but it can also be fleeting; I am happy in this moment, sad in the next. It relates to mood, to circumstances and conditions. Joy, on the other hand, reminds me of an undercurrent of electricity. It may not be quite so obvious, but it is constantly running behind the scenes, keeping things in kilter. One can be quite sorrowful in the particular moment, but still experience joy as the basic foundation of his or her life.
Joy comes, I believe, from acceptance of things as they are. I don't mean to imply that one cannot work for change. There is a moral mandate to work to improve our world, if not for our individual good, then for the good of all. Rather, joy is more of a "bloom where you're planted" type of emotion. Each moment, when lived in the moment, invites us to experience both joy and contentment. The opportunities are endless, although often unseen or overlooked. When one worries about what might have been, it inhibits a sense of joy. But when one experiences the gifts of the present moment, joy abounds.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Do life's lessons ever really end? Even now I continue to learn, experiencing things that I never have before, in part because I have never lived in this moment before. The other part comes from those around me, who, on a daily basis, live their out their own lives. With each day, life changes, and as it does, new insights come. Or so I hope...
Because the challenges of the last few weeks, mostly centerred around my youngest daughter--half a world away, alone and lonely in spite of so many who love her--I've come to appreciate my own supporters, even as I and my husband make every attempt to support her from a distance. Those who know me, or who know my daughter, understand my own deep sorrow. Yet, the burden gets lifted a bit in others' attempts to share in that very sorrow.
Today, there is light. Today, there is hope. Not every day will be like this one, perhaps, but it is enough for now. So many thanks to those whose offer of support and friendship shore me up and strengthen me. Your care and concern are much needed and most appreciated.