12 Apr 2011

J is for Joy.

Last year I read a blog post over at Litopia, called: 'I Choose Joy.'

In the post, the author talked about her New Year's Resolutions, and how she chose to focus on the positive side of life, regardless of all the reasons not to.

Her post resonated with me on a deep level. I'm quite cynical by nature, but that doesn't stop me from being an optimist. I look for beauty as well as truth in life.

So there I was, inspired. I, too, would choose joy. Which lead me to the first problem: where would I find it?

Since then, I've thought a lot about what brings me joy. It was easy to name activities and situations that made me feel happy, but much harder to spot an underlying pattern.

By now, I think I may have found that pattern, or at least a first sketch.

However naive or arrogant it may sound, I get joy from inspiring people. I love sharing sparks and snippets that have the potential to improve the quality of someone's life, relationships, health and self-image.

'Inspire' is the key word here. I gather ingredients, mix and bake them, and then crumble the bread and sprinkle the crumbs. If anybody sees something they like, they're free to pick it up.

I don't want to overestimate myself and the effect one individual can have on other people's lives. But I'm done with assuming I can't make a difference and giving up before I've even tried.

And I remind myself that, whatever happens, the time and energy I put in my writing won't have been a waste, because the act of creating and sharing has already brought me joy. Anything else is a bonus.

What brings you joy?

Photo 'Oli Smile' by David Long. Available under a creative commons license. © 2010, David Long.

Photo 'Joy of Thailand' by Stewart James Bim-Merle. Available under a creative commons license. © 2006, Stewart James Bim-Merle.
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  1. Nature brings me joy, and watching my grandchildren play, having wonderful efriends to talk to, my memories, knowing how blessed I have been in my life.....so many things bring me joy there isn't enough room here. I have a hard time hanging on to a good depression there is so much joy in my life.

  2. I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Creative Blog Award.
    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.

  3. Joy is a great J choice. And of course you make a difference. I read your blog every day because you seem to lead a conscientious life, and I admire that.

    My joy has always come from learning. I'm a dedicated life-long student.

  4. I was going through a rough patch and my best friend said these three words which healed me,
    "Find the joy".

    Great post.

  5. Joy... when I have the feeling that everything is well organised, all the urgent tasks are done and I have everything 'under control'.
    Joy... when I see the people around me (in the first place husband, kids and family) happy.

  6. Probably you've found out already that the anonymous was your little sister! ;-)

  7. @mybabyjohn: what a brilliant way of looking at life!

    @Deirdra: thank you so much. My first award! :-)

    @L.G.: 'seem' being the operative word. 'Try' would have been accurate as well. =) (What I mean is: thank you :-) ) Great reminder about learning, I enjoy that too.

    @50 foot QE: powerful 3 words. I'll remember those!

    @Lieve: actually, I hadn't, but yes, it does fit. Give them all a hug from me. :-)

  8. I am joyful that it is J day, and that I get to see so many pictures of beautiful, happy, smiling people on the blogs I've been visiting.

  9. Nothing brings me greater joy than hearing my children's laughter. Since they were babies, it has delighted me, and now that most are teenagers, it makes me feel good that they are enjoying each other. Last night at dinner, I asked my kids, "What was the funniest thing that happened to you today?" They could hardly eat, they were laughing so much. Good times. :)

  10. Joy is a great J! Writing most definitely brings me joy, but I think you're right nothing feels better than reaching out to someone else and inspiring of lifting them up, even in just a small way.

  11. I am so with you on this one. For me there is not much of a better feeling than to be responsible for or be a part of something that elicits feelings a happiness and enjoyment in other people. I guess a lot of my feeling comes from my show business background where I try to generate smiles and applause and brightening the day of another person. Smiles and happiness are pretty contagious.

    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  12. @Angela: quite uplifting on a random Tuesday :-)

    @Shelli: are you familiar with http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE6PNps5N9I ? :-)

    @Nicki: thanks. :-) I agree with you on both points!

    @Lee: And you're doing a great job with this challenge. It's got such a positive & supportive atmosphere!

  13. My family, especially my children bring great joy to my life. Reading, writing and blogging and teaching also bring about much joy for me. Thank you for such a timely post I needed to read today.

    Sheila Staley : Reviewer & Writer
    Book reviews and Author Interviews at my blog at http://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/

  14. @Sheila: you're welcome. :-) Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Good post and it's good that you're happy to inspire people Me? I get joy out of being around friends and family and having a story come together.

  16. @J.L. That's such a great moment, when the story clicks! Thanks for reminding me :)

  17. Yes, thank you. I've decided to practice joy as well. It's interesting because I'm kind of naturally cynical too, and yet I believe in joy. Real joy, not the artificial kind.

  18. @Queen Mahin: the most important distinction of all: real joy, not the articifical kind. Bloody hard to find, sometimes, but I'm getting better at knowing where to look - and how. =)


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