Now there’s a sore subject.
15 years out of the 40 current total years of my life have been spent battling anorexia and bulimia. A good 15 more have been spent working my way into and out of that precarious state.
That leaves approximately 10 years of my life in which I may have even had the perception that joy existed for me. And those were the first 10….not my wisest or most emotionally mature years.
Although, according to my mentor Lynn, that may be open to debate.
When I was little, my mom kept a baby journal.
I was the first-born, and in her utter naivete, I would imagine my mom thought it would be fun to record the little and big moments of my growing-into-myself years.
It is worth mentioning that by the time my little brother came along two years later, the baby journal idea had been scrapped, although Mom doggedly kept at mine, a task that must have become increasingly worrisome as my appetite decreased and my eating grew increasingly picky.
For the first few years of my life, however, the baby journal records that I was quite aware and certain of my space and my place, going so far as to tell an overly-enthusiastic cleaning person in our neighborhood grocery store to be careful where he swept his broom, lest he invade my space.
I was confident in who I was and what I deserved.
I was centered in myself, unencumbered by a fear of foods, weights, numbers, and calories that would not find me for another 7 years yet.
According to Lynn, those were the joy years. And I’ve been working ever since to get back there again.
No definition I have ever found for joy matches what Lynn has taught me about this quality.
It is not a quality, really, even, but more like a state, an awareness, a choice.
Joy is that space in which whether the day is “good” or “bad”, we are “fat” or “thin”, such-and-so “loves us” or “loves us not”, life is “going our way” or “against us” simply does not matter.
Life can’t intrude into joy, because joy has not given it permission to pass.
Joy has another, bigger picture perspective, which both sees the continuum and just doesn’t care.
It is undisturbed by temporary fluctuations, and unimpeded by them as a result.
Joy, Lynn continues to teach me, is always available to me.
The question she continually challenges me to ask myself, then, is, “Am I always available to joy?”
Today’s Takeaway: Are you open to the possibility that joy and daily life don’t have even an indirect cause-and-effect relationship? Where might you find joy even in challenge, and for that matter, challenge even in joy? What is joy, really? When are the moments you can remember feeling pure joy, and how easy is it to recapture that joy the moment you remember it? What does that say about joy’s relationship to anything the temporary events of the day may produce? These are all questions worth asking on our quest to find and sustain joy.
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Last reviewed: 25 Mar 2011