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Joy is not the absence of darkness

Joy is not the absence of darkness. Joy can be found even in dark and difficult times.

Joy for me is a soft smile creeping up, a softening of my eyes and feeling grateful for this moment. I find this joy in so many small ordinary moments- looking at beautiful trees in the forest, hearing beautiful music, seeing my kids playing/having fun, a hug from a loved one, laughter.

When I am able to stay in the here and now I experience so much more joy in my life. Joy is very much related to consciously searching for all the smaller and bigger things I am grateful for.

But joy is not only a soft smile. I also find joy in action. This joy feels like exhilaration, my heart beating faster, feeling fully alive!  I find this joy in moving my body (dancing!) or in doing things that scare me but feel so right at the same time.  I also find this joy in cycling home through the rain. The feeling of rain on my face, being a little out of breath because I cycled faster…this also brings this form of joy!

I invite you to get curious about what joy feels like for you

  • Where do you feel it in your body?
  • What kind of feeling is it?
  • Do you have different kinds of joy, just like I do?
  • What ordinary moments bring you joy?

Joy is not a constant, but I know that staying in the moment and searching for things I am grateful for bring so much more joy into my life! Brene Brown beautifully compares joy to a string of twinkle lights.

“Joy is not a constant. Joy comes to us in moments-often ordinary moment.

Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments.

Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare to let ourselves enjoy the lights.

A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable.

I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration and faith”.

(Brene Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection).

So one of the things that can get in the way of joy is fear of the dark. It is not the dark itself, but the fear of the dark. If you are experiencing a lot of fear right now, I have included two resources for you:

  • This beautiful podcast of the wise and warm Elizabeth Gilbert on how to befriend your fear. Listening to this podcast will feel like wrapping yourself in a calming, loving and healing blanket! You can listen to it in your browser or in the Insight Timer app (a great free meditation app)
  • My earlier blog: Invite your fear to tea.

This week I also had to grapple with something else that can get in the way of joy. I felt guilty of my joy, because I know there is so much pain and fear around me in the world. Am I allowed to feel joy amidst all the suffering that is going on? I talked to a dear friend and colleague about this. What she said was this: People don’t need you to join them in the dark. Especially when it is dark, we need people that hold the light. Those wise words resonated deeply with me. Yes, I am allowed to feel light and joy. Because I know what helps me when I am in the dark: that is to see the light of other people, to see and be reminded of the joy there is as well. We can take turns in holding the light for each other!


Will you share what joy feels like for you? #SharingJoyBringsMoreJoy

You can do that below in the comments or just send me an email.


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© Copyright Samula Mescher