Saturday, March 19, 2011

My quest for joy.

One month ago today, I started a little quest for joy.  Joy has been a bit elusive at different points in my adult life.  Especially since I was in grad school, I have felt somewhat unworthy of experiencing joy because of the privileged, carefree life I was born into compared to the lives others are experiencing in places like the Congo where 5.4 million people have died in the deadliest war since WWII.  Or the lives of those who live in perpetual hunger, or those that live in constant fear of rape, or those who live in refugee camps because they have no home, or those who are children manipulated into being a soldiers, or... 

I spent a year in grad school learning about such things and even traveling to places where I saw the scars of such injustices marked into a society.  Despite this picture of the world, I choose to believe that there is hope for change. 

Still, joy is elusive.  I often still feel unworthy of experiencing joy.  January was a particularly joyless month for me both professionally and personally.  I attempted to find an inner peace through the practice of yoga which I tried for the first time ever, and after several classes, I had a personal revelation: If I can't experience joy in my own life, I will have nothing to offer to my husband, family, friends, students.  I must let myself experience joy, so that I can make a small attempt to be there for others.  Thus, I decided to seek out joy and use this blog as a way to hold myself accountable. 

Over the past month, I didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but I did try to recognize and acknowledge joy in the everyday, and I found it just by being more mindful and reflective.  I enjoyed stopping to take a picture to capture an everyday moment, or spending time reflecting upon something simply ordinary but meaningful. I have found joy in the most simple of things: the people that surround me, being outside, teaching my students, the city I live in, going on a hike, listening to music, walking through my neighborhood, taking pictures, going on small adventures...  

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