Joy is the theme we had chosen for July 2020 at the beginning of the year as we projected a beautiful summer in Mallorca. Now, I could have changed the theme of this months to something more diplomatic or subdued, to not be insensitive to the still unstable and uncertain state of the world. But I have chosen not to. I choose to address that joy may not be easily accessible to many of us at the moment, and although it is indeed a gorgeous summer in Mallorca, it surely is not the summer we had imagined in January. Feeling joy is often prevalent in the absence of worry and pain. It is also often connected to freedom and lightness, all of which are somewhat dampened states since an epidemic has captivated our attention and instilled fear and concern in many a heart. I would not go as far as to imply that we should be more joyful despite it all, but I would love to invite our focus of attention to at least also encompass the moments of delight in between.
I have personally noticed the vast difference between oscillating my focus of attention on the things I dislike in our current situation and the things I am grateful for, that I might have taken for granted in the past. Like being able to go to the beach again, or having my dad visit me for a few days. I recognise how easy it is to be resistant to change and resistant to have authorities tell me what to do and so on, but I also see how directly related my resistance is to the degree of my suffering and thus the absence of experienced joy is. It’s almost like the focus on my resistance keeps my attention tied up in that which I don’t won’t and therefor leaves no room for me to see all the beauty that is available yet.
Mallorca is slowly opening its boarders again, and if I focus on my frustration that we have to wear masks on the streets, I forget about the joy of swimming in the ocean again after 3 months. I can be exasperated about the restrictions or I can appreciate July on the island without a traffic jam to the most beautiful places.
Sure it is not ideal, and I for one am grateful when some planning is possible again and fear is not a baseline to our collective mood, but I don’t want to miss out on all of the gifts that are right in front of me just because I am to wrapped up in resenting what is happening. Joy is there, even if subtly, when resistance is not. It might not be the loud and celebratory joy of carelessness, but it is still there in the little things. In the smell of a beautiful flower, in the birds song, in the ice cream on a quiet plaza, in the embrace of a friend.
Joy is to be found everywhere if we don’t let our attention be captivated and highjacked by the headlines and dooms day scenarios. The truth is right now, right here, we are ok. Dealing as best we can with unprecedented circumstances, to the best of our ability. Let us not forget to be grateful for what we do have. For what does work. For the bright blue sky.
We are reviving from a prolonged winter if you like, slowly coming out of our nooks and crannies, more sensitive perhaps, more hungry for nourishment and connection. If we are alert we will find it everywhere, I promise. The world is such a remarkably versatile and abundant place, you would have to be very stubborn not to enjoy some of its gifts, even in a peculiar or challenging time.
So here is the invitation: find the joy and gratitude in the little things. In the daily and the ordinary. In unexpected situations and those that might often go unnoticed or taken for granted. Like everything else joy grows when we pay attention to it. We get to choose where we place our attention. Lets choose wisely 🙂
Enjoy a unique and splendid summer,