Sunday, October 24, 2010

Terms of EnJOYment

As the end of my first week in the InsightLA class, Deepening Joy, draws near, I find myself scrambling to put my thoughts together reflecting on the theme of setting a joyful intention.

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Based on the book, Awakening Joy, by James Baraz and Shoshana Alexander, this first assignment is to reflect on what the word "joy" means to me, the images that come to mind, and how I most naturally express or experience it.

Mom, Joy, and Kay

My first reaction to the word "joy" is actually a sorrowful one.  Joy was the name of my mom's older sister, who died when she was in her late 30's or early 40's.  I feel sad that I never had the chance to know her.  But when I picture the moment when my grandmother first held her baby daughter in her arms, and said the name, "Joy", I can't help but feel a warmth and purity of love that my grandmother always radiated, only this in this moment, it is stronger and more intense, enveloping all I can see, hear, and feel.  It makes me happy to picture my grandmother in this moment.


Another image of the word joy is the feeling I used to have when lying in bed, on my back, with my big, heavy, cream-colored cat perched on my chest, purring away, vibrating my ribcage and filling my heart with warmth and peacefulness.  The weight--instead of being stifling--is soothing, as if saying, "There is absolutely no need to get up for anything.  Stay here, rest, and relax.  Everything you need is right here in this moment."

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How do I express joy?  I guess in a quiet way, with a gentle smile.  I haven't danced around the room in ages, and that was mostly when I wanted to get something out, not when I was happy.  The same goes for writing, and most of my other creative ventures.  Usually I create when I want to get something off my chest, not because I feel joyful.  The act of creating something usually brings about a change in my emotional state, from chaotic to calm.  A catharsis....  Maybe this is why I haven't done anything creative in so long--nothing to get off my chest.  That can't be true, can it?

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I am supposed to say, "I want to be happy," and see what happens.  I feel like I already am pretty happy, like joy is already part of my daily experience, but am I really hiding unhappiness away?  Is there something I am burying inside?

Surely, I will find much more in the coming weeks' investigations.

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I end with stating my intention: I intend to be positive and encouraging, with both myself and others.  I see everything as an opportunity for joy, peace, and happiness.


  1. Very nice.
    I think I express joy in goofiness. :)

  2. You know, now that you mention it, I am quite goofy in the classroom with my 6th graders. I guess that just goes to show I have to feel safe in my environment to express myself that way.

    Most of the time with adults around me, I am just the quiet one.

    Possibly, my joy actually comes from being with my students, instead of being with other adults. Actually, I'm pretty sure that has something to do with it.

    Thanks for pointing out that joy can be expressed with "goofiness". You helped me realize something here...