Talk about paradoxical.
Discipline. Punishment to correct disobedience. A framework of training people in order that they obey rules or a specific code of behaviour.
Joy. Isn’t joy about freedom and spontaneity? A sense of lightness.
Joy is a discipline. A line from Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant’s Option B stopped me in my tracks.
So what is joy? Is it not happiness?
Joy is said to be an internal state, a purposeful choice. Whereas happiness is purportedly externally driven. Joy is said to linger like a mood whilst happiness is said to be transitory.
The opposite of joy is fear.
Misery being the opposite of happiness.
I got thinking about this year – 200+ days of lockdown – and where I’ve experienced joy and to my horror a tsunami of examples didn’t come rushing to meet my thinking.
I was determined to write something in my journal.
What about 2019?
Was that last year, no couldn’t be, it feels like years ago?
Travel. Our trips to Italy and Crete.
Food. Beautifully prepared food.
Reading. For pleasure. Getting lost in a book.
Back to 2020.
And that’s when I understood why joy is a discipline. Joy IS paradoxical. BUT because joy is a purposeful choice, an internal attitude, it is imperative in times like these, in times of sadness, in times of stress, to choose joy and not succumb to fear.
And I’ve slipped into the ‘easier’ path of fear.
Discipline. I can do that. Today I’ve committed to myself to consciously seek out and find, joy.
To relish the beautiful meals that are made for me – every day.
To curl up in my big armchair and delight in the 100’s of books that I have around the house (and on my bookcase).
To book a trip for next year.
To have long lazy lunches at my ‘dinner’ table with my girlfriends.
Oh and bubbles. To sip on champagne bubbles.
So that in 2021 when I ask how disciplined I have been about my practice of joy, I can without a moment of hesitation and with delight in my heart, count the many ways that joy has been present in my life.
How my mood has been one of joy and not fear.
When last have you experienced joy?
What brings you joy?
Are you committed to a practice of joy?