I was strolling through words the other day...the ones we say on a regular basis, the ones that seem to pop into whatever we read or hear that then become part of who we are; ones that we sometimes stop and think and wonder.. "when the hell did that come into my vocabulary?". A word that I have long used but not used in a long time is jocular. It is such a jolly word; so apt. And also a J
That of course led me into another maze of 'J' words and I was astounded... okay not astounded as that’s a bit naive...lets just say I had en eyebrow-raising moment when I found a whole list of words with the same meaning:
jocularity jocundity jocoseness jolliness joviality
All of the above are nouns whose definition is:
And in that same list of words was another that resonated...
joie de vivre
loosely translated from the french as:
the joy of living
also a noun...one that feels very nice to say. Come now...say it with me...
Isn’t that just a fabulous concept? Isn’t that what our energies should be spent on?
Sarah Ban Brethnach puts it so well: “when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present--love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure--the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth."
Yes I know, all too often life gets in the way and punches us in the throat and the whole heaven on earth bit might be a tad over the top. But I do believe that through thick and thin we can at least try to recognize and honour those bits of our lives that bring us joy. Its much like eating a plate of food, yes? How often do you cook a meal thinking of everything but the actual ingredients or process of preparation. You slap the food on a plate only to have the recipient maybe slurp it down whilst sat in front of the tv? Okay maybe a tad extreme....maybe not. What a difference it makes to consciously take notice of each and every element of that food preparation, each and every ingredient, texture and flavour and then have the recipients hit the pause button, sit down at a prepared table and en~JOY the meal.
I believe that one or two little moments of Joy in ones day will go a long way to diluting the sometimes unbearable pain we call life. I also believe that to get to this place requires a conscious decision...a choice.
Don’t get me wrong..I have not come about this because my life is all shiny bobbing little ponytails and pockets of joy (and please don’t ask me what that all means; I have never used those words like that in one sentence...but it kind of conjurs up a picture that feels irritatingly slappable!) No, I’ve come about this feeling from a particularly painful place, a place very much like that wasteland full of illusions.
I know there are days filled with overwhelm...I’m not discounting that and I’m not saying that those days don’t have their rightful place in our journey. But when we discount the joy, when we take it for granted, if we don't acknowledge it or worse still, if we don’t feel deserving or worthy of it, then sometimes all one needs is a good old jolt of pain to shake things up...shake loose the knife from between one’s shoulder blades and the other one lodged between one’s ribs.
I had one of those jolts last week. Luckily for me I was thrown into a cold shower of common sense along with some clarifying and caring words from near and far. Left to cogitate on this for a bit brought me to my conclusion that I ..you...we...have a clear cut choice...to either savour each joyful moment in the moment; envelope myself...yourself...ourselves in them like a soft terry towel ...or not.
I choose the moment!
|Joie de Vivre|
oil on canvas by leslie taylor