-The Art of Joy-

An Advanced copy of the original: The Art of Joy!

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

Life is never perfect, it comes with a few struggles and joys. Thought, sometimes it seems that life is throwing a lot more struggles then joys at us. That may be true, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t also have joy. With one single smile, or a positive remark we create our own joy, and by being joyful we can also light up our dreary surroundings.
You see, joy doesn’t just come from sunshine and happy friends, it can also be spread by a signal smile. In my opinion smiles our the greatest kind of joy, for a smile can be contagious.

Like smiles, moments can also bring you joy, a good song, new cloths, a clean room, a peppy pup, a beautiful meadow, great friends. Theses moments can be truly joyful, but not all moments our sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes moments in life can be a tragedy, a hateful comment, a bad friend, a violent act, a great loss. When theses moments arise life can become dreary and gray very fast. That’s why when I see or experience a great moment I grab it and hang on to that memory. So, when the bad moments come and bet you up like a violent storm you can go back and reminisce over those joyful moments.

Images: “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
― Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

Thought, Occasionally when enjoying a good moment a bad one can come back to haunt. That’s when I use the ‘sunset rule’ as I like to call it. My golden inspiration came from a casual stroll threw the woods. The woods dominion: dancing snowflakes, ruddy-bark warped trees; shaven clean from a million mooses majestic antlers. Peaceful, hazy calm. Mound upon mound of crisp, clear white snow; twinkling and blinking lazily up at me, and walking into a wide clearing, stood my sunset: fiery and golden, flashing array intense orange and yellow. With splashes of scarlet and delicate Violet. The sunset was really just a ordinary AK sunset, but to me it was incomparable and it taught me an important lesson. As I stood looking into that magnificent orb, of golden light and beauty, I realized that when you are looking at a captivating sunset you don’t go back and think of a dreary cloudy day. No, you enjoy that sunset and the moment that it brings.
It’s the same with life: when you come across a joyful moment, don’t go back to an awful moment in your life, instead try to enjoy that moment and the joy that it brings, with all your heart. For every moment in life either
good or bad can equip us for the battles ahead.

Any of us can choose to be dropy, But can we choose to be happy? It takes a human with real courage and persistence to make sunshine out of your shadows, instead of resorting to a frown and a stormy life.

“Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.”
― Clive Barker, Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War

Ann Frank, wrote in her diary—“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” Locked in an office, hiding from Hitler and his hell, Ann, a teen girl had every right to embrace sadness and self pity, but no, she chose to look around her and see the beauty among the raging fires, of her home and the ashes of Bergen-Belsen. If Ann Frank can take the stand to chose Joy, then how much more can we make the same choice? Not, just once but continually.

Next time, when you stub your toe, or lock your keys in the car…take a breath and choose joy.

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” 
― Rumi

—Joy