This year I want to focus on emotions and states of being that help us stay healthy. And at this beginning of the year, I want to focus on joy. Joy is defined as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” You see, joy is different that happiness because so many times happiness is associated with the circumstances of our lives. Joy is evoked by a sense of satisfaction.
Thich Nnat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, poet, and peace activist said, “We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we'll also have a lot more joy in living.” Isn’t that our goal, to have more joy in living each day? One thing I have learned in the past four years is that if I want to have joy, I have to stop, look, and listen. I have to make time for myself, my children, my husband, and my friends. I must relax and take time to re-center myself. It is then that I find joy.
Don’t get me wrong. These are not easy tasks. I have full-time jobs as a teacher, a mother, and wife. Making time for myself is hard, but I have learned to do it. When I was younger, I did not see my mother do this so I had to teach myself. Now I teach my daughters that JOY is found in many ways. Consider these thoughts and what they have in common.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
― Rabindranath Tagore
“It’s important that what thoughts you are feeding into your mind because your thoughts create your belief and experiences. You have positive thoughts and you have negative ones too. Nurture your mind with positive thoughts: kindness, empathy, compassion, peace, love, joy, humility, generosity, etc. The more you feed your mind with positive thoughts, the more you can attract great things into your life.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
- Paul the Apostle in his Epistle to the Galatians
Joy is more than an emotion. It is a state of being that we seek each day. It is evidence of something bigger than ourselves. It is evidence of being content with all that has blessed our lives.
My Journey from death's door to the miracle of life.
Annie Dragoo is a wife, mother, actor, singer, dancer, educator, and holistic health practitioner who lives in Austin, Texas.