Joy for All
Updated: Dec 4, 2021
It’s that time of year when expectations mount. Expectations around how certain celebrations will play out, how they will feel and look, and what they ultimately symbolise. These outward pictures feed us the notion that if we walk down a carefully curated path, tow a certain party line, then the pinnacle of success will be reached by the years end.
That success can have different flavours for different people. Maybe it’s a material possession that will finally land in your lap, or an upholding of tradition or peace with friends or family. Maybe you’ll attain an idolised image or appearance that you have been working towards, or maybe you’re hoping to wipe the slate clean of a challenging year.
It is a set-up that we often fall for over and over again. If we don’t attain our expectations, we can feel let down or disappointed. And if we do manage to meet or exceed our expectations, we can often feel that momentary pleasure recede. In either scenario, we can feel puzzled as to why we’re not feeling as jolly as the people around us, not to mention the old guy in red. These feelings can become circular in nature, as we transfer and hold them as emotions in the body. This can be compounded by societies invisible rules that tell us that expressing or voicing these feelings is not allowed at this time of year.
When we ponder this often-repetitive cycle, there is a settling truth that no single gathering, event or holiday can mask the way you move through your life, everyday. There can be no sustaining joy from striving, fantasising or reaching a certain pinnacle, only temporary distraction.
Joy and harmony are available to each of us, each day. Not through expensive gifts or extravagant gestures, but from the little details that all together make up our lives. Being present when someone passes you on the street with a smile. Choosing to deepen the love that you show yourself, by eating food that makes you feel good or going to bed when you’re tired. Settling into the knowing that you don’t have to override the messages that your body is telling you to speak up, to slow down, to jump up and dance. To move in a way that expresses how you are feeling with honesty, is one of life’s greatest and simplest gifts.
Joy can so easily be lumped in with pleasure. But it is so much more. Joy is an emanating and consistent feeling of lightness. An undercurrent of warmth that belongs to no-one but at the same time is available to everyone. A feeling that steadily fills your heart, especially when executing the simplest of chores or movements. Noticing the scent of jasmine on the path, feeling the sea breeze on your face, observing the touch of your fingertips on the keyboard.
Some would have us believe that to ignite joy we need to start big, but what if it was the opposite? What if joy started in the small, and then began to ripple out across our day and then across our week, our months and years. Until it become a standard of living that we appreciated, but no longer amazed at.
What if joy to the world, started with us.
Carly Skeers teaches yoga to people of all ages on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. She loves the fluidity that Christmas and the summer holidays deliver. Days spent by the water, fresh summer produce on dinner tables with friends or family, all contributing to bring a great sense of settling joy.