Joy: delight, great pleasure, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, rapture.
We love to feel joyful and happy, but at the same time, we sometimes cut the feeling off, feeling like we don’t deserve it. It becomes something that we feel we have to earn, or be good enough for. “Well I worked hard today, so I can kick off my shoes and do the thing that makes me most happy.” And if we don’t feel that we lived up to our standards, we don’t allow ourselves joy. Or, we medicate with drugs and alcohol to numb that feeling of low self-worth.
Did you ever ask, “Who is this person that I believe I have to feel good enough to be before I allow myself to feel joy?” The pursuit of happiness is recognized as a human right, and yet we have all judgments and parameters about it. It’s OK to pursue joy after all your responsibilities are fulfilled. Work first, pay the bills, duty to family and friends, and when your energy is almost depleted, pursue joy.
Starting with work first, studies have been made on workplace happiness. Ray Williams states in an article “How workplace happiness can boost productivity,” on the PsychologyToday.com website, shows like ‘The Apprentice,’ intimate that good guys finish last and that being happy and having positive relationships don’t matter. This view is contrary to numerous psychological studies of the workplace that found personal feelings toward an individual are more significant in the formation of productive collective work than is a persons competence.
Why should we be concerned about whether people are happy at work? Aren’t there more important issues such as sales, marketing, finance and operations? The truth is all of these issues are better met by employees who are happy and who enjoy their work. The business case for happiness in the workplace is simple and based on solid evidence.
It’s true for the classroom as well. As a teacher, I learned that happy, peaceful, relaxed kids learn better than unhappy stressed children. That’s one of the reasons there is such an emphasis on no bullying in schools. The presence of bullies creates a tension in the environment, even if they are not actively engaging in bullying.
When I Googled “The healing power of joy,” 6,020,000 hits came up. Get the picture?
I’m not being disrespectful of responsibilities. Responsibilities are forms of commitment that we make to others, whether it is in the workplace, home, school, or to ourselves. Yet, since we see that joy makes everything a little better, shouldn’t we commit to creating a little joy for ourselves everyday?
I have a friend, Bill, who will be in a veteran’s hospital for a year to heal osteomyelitis from a wound in the leg he received in 1967 during the Vietnam War. His mother just passed away. Now there is only one sister remaining from a family of five, with no children to carry on. His family home is being sold. A hospital buddy disappeared yesterday, and all that remains are plastic bags filled with his belongings on his bed.
No one is allowed to talk about it.
But Bill was the one who made coffee for everyone and shared his great scientific mind with others about this world and engineering facts. He is an accomplished guitarist, and even though it is sometimes hard to wheel around in a wheelchair with a guitar, he goes around and plays for others. He has an email list of us high school chums that he sends jokes to, and anecdotes. He is kind, polite, and appreciative to staff. Telling someone you appreciate what they do is a way to bring joy to that person.
He has discovered that in bringing joy to others, he catches it himself. He inspires me. He makes me laugh. He is healing, and sends pictures as proof. He has self-worth. He believes that although he isn’t perfect, he is always getting better. He does his best and accepts that that’s all that he can do.
I’ve also learned to ask more for help when I need it. I recommend it. And when you ask, let the task be clearly explained with a beginning and an end. Some folks are more willing to do a little something than a bigger something.
Now just as there is a peace that surpasses understanding, there is also a joy that surpasses understanding. We can’t understand it with our mental minds because it exists in our spiritual minds. We have to stop the chatter from our “monkey minds” as some call it … that part that is always firing thoughts of all nature into your mind first. Then the spiritual mind floods us with the well-being of peace and joy. No words are necessary.
This joy is proclaimed when the angels appeared to the shepherds and said, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11.
The tidings of joy were for all people, not specific ones who only believed a certain thing, from the humblest shepherds to the kings, and all the others. All people get the blessing and the joy from one whose message was that we were loved by our Creator, and that we were to love Him back, as well as our neighbors (everyone else we meet) and ourselves. When we can truly love our neighbors as ourselves, wars will cease.
I remember as a child being puzzled by Peter’s quotation, “God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34. What it means is that God shows no favoritism, no partiality. The spirit mind that we all have was created in us all equally by our Creator. That is what He sees in us. It was made incorruptible, which is why Jesus and other healers can say to that uncorrupted spiritual mind in someone whose body is damaged or diseased, or even dead, “Rise” and they can.
Many researchers believe that the Three Kings who came to Jesus were Zoroastrians, from Persia (now Iran). Their prophet Zarathustra taught them about One God whom they called Ahura Mazda. Their seers had a prophecy that one would be born who would take that teaching into the world in a grand scale, and followed the stars to see when and where it would occur. The stars led them to Jesus.
The death of their prophet, Zarathustra is celebrated on Dec. 26. There are still about 124,000 Zoroastrians left, who live mostly in India.
Another day celebrated this month in the Northern Hemisphere is the Winter Solstice on Dec. 21. In very early times in Norway and Celtic North Europe, peoples’ celebrations revolved around natural events. On the Winter Solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year, they believed the old Sun God would die. A huge yule log was set to burn all night thus keeping light on the Earth until daybreak and the rebirth of the Sun King as a baby, and a new year. As the Sun God grew, so did the light in the Northern Hemisphere until it reached its zenith at the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. Then each day would shorten. Did you ever wonder at New Year’s why father time is depicted as very old, and the New Year is celebrated as a baby? Perhaps they borrowed these symbols. The solstice is still celebrated by many Wiccan households.
I do have Celtic roots, and celebrate the solstice, as well as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and more. They each just keep reaffirming the light and love of God for me, and all people and there are plenty of occasions and reasons to experience joy.
Hale Opio Kauai convened a support group of adults in our Kauai community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at email@example.com For more information about Hale Opio Kauai, please go to www.haleopio.org