Some of the most intensely pleasant feelings that I
have come when I slow down and really look at the world
around me, noticing many of the things that I often don't
notice when I'm in a hurry or when I'm focused on the
things that keep me preoccupied. "Joy," I
think, is really the only accurate word for describing
these feelings, and I know that Sigurd is right: joy
does come from things that are simple and natural.
I've felt elation over accomplishments and achievements,
and I've felt things like love and hope and despair, but
the feeling of joy often comes when I recognize the
miraculous in the simple, natural things, and when I feel
my connection to those things.
I've had many problems with joy in my life, usually
because I didn't allow it full rein when it showed
up. I've always been afraid that it wouldn't last
and that the let-down that came after joy would be
terrible, so I've cut joy off in a vain and silly attempt
to control my life by controlling my emotions. It
never worked, and I deprived myself of many joyful moments
Nowadays, though, I allow myself to be taken in by those
moments. I allow myself the full range of feelings
that want to come out when I see a nice sunset or sunrise,
when I see those morning mists and the sunlight on the
leaves that are dancing in the breeze. And when I
allow myself to take the time and to focus my attention on
those things, then I do feel something that I can only
describe as joy.
I have to say, though, that there are still numerous
occasions when I don't do this, when I start to
take the world for granted and let my job and other
concerns overwhelm me. And during those times, I
lost much of the joy because I don't keep myself open to
it--not because it's gone anywhere or disappeared.
But I do know that no matter what, it is there to be
recaptured--when I decide to open myself to it.