While I was in Italy trying my best not to be productive, my brain went on an adventure of its own. I’ve long believed that joy is sprinkled everywhere you look and you only have to learn to recognize and claim those bits. But as I was standing at the top of an Italian mountain in the garden of a monastery, openly weeping at the overwhelmingly beautiful view, it occurred to me – What if bits of joy could be strung together like a necklace? Or what if the joy bits could be stretched and expanded so that they overlap? What if I can find a way to make joy pervasive in my life, weaving it in and out of all of my thoughts?
In my real, non-European-vacation life, I make a lot of compromises. I eat the most convenient food rather than the best food. I don’t listen to music that makes my spirit dance because it’s easier to listen to whatever is on the radio. I don’t take a walk because it’s easier to sit for half an hour in front of the television. I let weariness take things from me.
These are not purposeful, deliberate sacrifices. They’re me not making the best choices for myself. For whatever deep-seated psychological reasons, I haven’t fully embraced and internalized the concept of self-nurturing. An interesting revelation.
So what would life be if every moment, we made the most nurturing, kind, joyful choices? What would happen in my life if every moment, I always choose the best option available for myself.
I haven’t quite settled back into my daily routine at home yet, but I’m anxious to try out ‘pervasive joy’. No more food delivered through a window. No more days without music. No more background noise. No more sacrifices that don’t benefit anyone.
I’m going to enroll in the silversmithing class I’ve had my eye on for five years. I’m going to schedule the massage appointment I’ve been thinking about for six months. I’m updating my iTunes account today.
I will still change diapers and go to work and fold laundry, but my intention is to see those things from a different perspective. Rather than a mundane exercise in yuckiness, the diaper table is a place where I can talk with my daughter. My morning commute can be a stolen moment of privacy and reflection rather than the road to a long hard day.
I still have some thinking to do about ‘pervasive joy’, and I will report any changes I experience as I put it into practice. In the mean time, what’s your reaction to ‘pervasive joy’? How would you string together the beads of joy in your life?