When all around is sorrow and confusion, dare I remind myself it is illusion, and that I have the choice to guide my mind and heart to where my soul wants to go, where in fact it always resides? Despite appearances to the contrary, can I allow myself to resist, the negative kiss that surrounds and, instead, go for joy?
Joy, oh boy, in the face of disease and unrest, of hunger and war, of neighbors who are pushy, of everything that might annoy, might I instead see the joke behind it... might I hear the laughter of the creator and join the game? Joy is not slapping on a smile while cursing under your breath. It's not the same as soldiering through. It's not the same as overlooking and waiting out a disturbance.
Joy, oh boy, the clarion call of the Almighty one - the maker of the sun, the stars, the trees and bees, of you and me and everyone. Were we put here to be dismayed? Were we given breath to waste on travail and complaint? "Maybe," you might say, especially if your mood is running foul. But, where does this complaining get us? Where is the ending of that long trail? Does the burden get any lighter for all the hours of hurtful wailing? I submit that it does not. I must remind myself, after reading the news, that life is bliss, that I have a muse, and she awaits to bring me back to this place that makes old views new.
I know myself, I will slip and fall. I will fail again and again. I will forget the call - so still and small that little voice, the one that offers a kinder choice. Like the hummingbird, it does flit, from flower to flower never counting the hour. It says "yes," when all around insist on "no." It turns me upside down on my weary head and shows me gladness and gratitude instead. Yes siree. Joy lives. Joy lives deep inside of me. May I remember to set her free.
Not a scholar or a sage, not famous or oppressed, not young or beautiful, not a follower or a leader, but possibly a pilgrim who, on her better days, detects the gleam of age-old truth hidden within life around her. Jan's been published often in the NW art magazine, Northern Journeys, and has three essays in the current Wising Up anthology entitled Surprised By Joy -- available through www.universaltable.org.