Experiencing the Pleasure of Joy

This week we went to see the Young@Heart chorus sing. It was joyful. There is really no other word to describe it. I smiled so hard for the entire duration of the concert that I was a little sore the next day. I am a content person. I am very happy about the start of my business, but I don’t do silly and I almost never do joyful.

My students at the YMCA have the option of studying with lots of different types of yoga teachers. Some of the teachers have loud voices and big personalities, others are cute and playful, others are sweet and serene. I am serious and intense. My devoted students think that we are having fun when we are exploring the Large Intestine or softening the Heart, not when I crack a joke. I’m okay with that.

But seeing all those old people dance around stage is not your typical level of joy. Seeing the house stand for a full standing ovation at the end of the first set is not your usual level of joy. The concert made me determined to be a little bit lighter and to laugh deeply more often.

One of my favorite characteristics in fiction is the description of someone with a quick smile. I don’t have a quick smile. My smile requires warming up and usually starts out kind of stiff and awkward. There are a handful of people in my life who can make me laugh so hard I lose control and actually start trembling a little because my body isn’t used to it. I keep them around with a fierceness.

In the midst of the days getting shorter and everyone starting to lose their minds over the presidential campaign I invite you to take time to find joy. Remember that game when you lay your head on someone’s stomach and someone else lays their head on your stomach and then everyone laughs as hard as possible. Why do we stop doing stuff like that? I want to do that at our next dinner party, though I’ll probably be too embarrassed to ask people to get down on the ground. We have to make sure we instead look for different, adult ways of being silly and joyful. I find being around children, especially babies, is the easiest technique. They are our best teachers of joy.

I’m including this picture because it is only picture I have of me really laughing as an adult. It was taken moments after one of my closest friends made me laugh hard enough that I couldn’t be camera shy or sensor myself. That is why I keep her around. Keep a picture like this of yourself around as another great reminder of joy!

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