How could you make space for joy in the year to come? How could you protect it?
Again the prompt for the day has taken me by surprise. Making space for joy is not something I would have come up with on my own. II doubt being joyful is on many people’s daily to do list?
“Hello Sheila, what’s on your to do list for today?” you ask.
“First up, I need to get these minutes of the meeting out of the way, then the boss wants last month’s stats rehashed for a better outcome, and, and and and … the last item on the list is to be joyful,” Sheila replies.
Me: “Be joyful?”
Sheila: “Yes. Be joyful.”
Me: “Isn’t that an odd thing to have on a work to do list?”
Sheila: “No, I don’t think so.”
Me: “It’s just that being joyful isn’t something I would have thought belonged on a to do list.”
Sheila: “Why ever not?”
Me: “Well, because being joyful is something you either are or you are not.”
Sheila: “Actually, I disagree. I think if you conscientiously seek joyfulness it creates a more pleasant environment in which to be.”
Me: “Ah, like …?”
Sheila: “Well like when you came in this morning and told us about the camping fiasco over the weekend.”
Me: “That made you joyful!”
Sheila: “No, the actual experience was not joyful. What was enjoyable and funny was how you retold it. We had a good laugh and it changed the atmosphere in the office.”
Me: “Yes, it did. We were all so wrapped in our tasks and goals we were tense without realising it.”
Sheila: “Exactly, and you came in and broke the tension when you shared your weekend in the rain and mud. You made us laugh and that released the tension and the anxiety we were feeling.”
Me: “I know you weren’t laughing at me, rather at the series of events that led to us making so many poor decisions. It’s amazing how low blood sugar can make one less rational than normal.”
Sheila: “You’ve hit the nail on the head. Like low blood sugar levels make us less likely to function well, stress and anxiety have the same affect on our performance. Low blood sugar levels need food, stress and anxiety need a good laugh to let it all go and reclaim calm. While one can be joyful in the valley, it is levity that brings us to the top of the mountain where the view is so much clearer.”
So how will I make space for joyfulness and levity in the year ahead. I could start by savouring the simple pleasures and passing sillinesses in each day. It has always been important for me to celebrate good outcomes, small or significant. I’ve lost this recently and become bogged in the plod and mundanity of life. Celebrating will be back on the agenda as soon as there is something to crow about. I will create the space for joy and laughter by making sure they are welcome. I’ll invite them in, individually or they can arrive, as they usually do, together. Because they have been invited, I’ll be expecting them.
Joy and levity do need protection and here’s the plan to guard them.