So I’m in yoga class the other day, we’re just getting started. Everyone’s seated on their mats, eyes closed, backs straight enough. “Now,” says the instructor, “Now imagine something that brings you joy. We are going to spend 3 minutes in that space, so that you can carry it through your practice.”
Um, or, “Hells bells!” as my father said back in the day.
Because for the life of me I could not find any memory of joy that I could replicate. Being with my children? They’re elsewhere at the moment. The day I got married? Never to be repeated. Even the surprising moments of bliss in the side yard? I mean, those things don’t happen on command.
I spent most of the class wondering if I needed to be concerned. Not very yogic, that.
On the way home, I called my best friend in New Jersey. She used to live here, moved to Belgium, now she’s in New Jersey. Isn’t life goofy sometimes?
She and I agreed, the whole point of joy is that it doesn’t come on command. It opens inside you like a surprise bird in a meadow, then flies off. You watch it, ecstatic, until it becomes a small point, and then nothing but sky.
Thinking further, right now the world might be just a teeny tiny bit over-focused on joy. What about some perfectly lovely other feelings? For example:
- Relief: I FINALLY took down the Christmas lights. Middle of February is better than never. Phew.
- Satisfaction: Aha, the stovetop is clean! It will get dirty again. I don’t care, this moment is perfect.
- Contentment: It’s so nice here under this comforter. I love having a cold face and warm body.
- Happiness: It rained! The hydrangea are starting to leaf out. Looks like the olive tree just might be happy in its new home too, I see some new green.
- Bliss: That was the best massage I’ve ever had.
- Triumph: She accepted our offer! What a hire!
Heck. I even like me some mild amused irritation. “What the heck lady, how am I supposed to know if you want to cross the street if a) you aren’t standing at a crosswalk b) you don’t look up from your phone when the light changes?”
Have a great weekend, maybe spending some time with what we might call the Family Of Lesser-Known Pleasant Feelings.