facets of joy



“Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor.” ~ Paul Hawken

“Contrary to what we usually believe… the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times—although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen. For a child, it could be placing with trembling fingers the last block on a tower she has built, higher than any she has built so far; for a swimmer, it could be trying to beat his own record; for a violinist, mastering an intricate musical passage. For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves.” ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ~ Dr. Seuss

This week, we focused our attention on joy. Our writers drew from memory and poetry to discuss aspects of joy – what brings us joy and what diminishes joy. We identified the joyful moments in our lives as important marker points. This means that our joy is tied, inevitably, to identity. What makes us joy is linked to who we are. And learning who we are helps us feel guided toward living authentic lives. Joy is really difficult to achieve in the prison. Because of that, I’m going to hurry on to our writers’ words this week and let them speak for themselves.

Below, you’ll read our writers’ accounts of their joy and, by extension, accounts of themselves.

Joy Is

Being rocked by your mom starts joy.
Being a mom is also joy,
Playing with friends, at home or in school,
being with your pets, feeling their soft ears,
going on vacation, buying souvenirs,
eating with family, ending with dessert,
learning to drive, getting to take the car out,
sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in,
walking on the boardwalk watching the guys go by,
going on a date with butterflies inside,
enjoying wine, being asked to dance,
buying a new outfit, and 2 pairs of shoes,
cooking for a holiday, enjoying tradition
or being invited for a holiday at someone else’s house.
Food brings joy, ice cream, chocolate, Chinese food. Continue reading