By Elaine Gast Fawcett, TIWP Women’s Program
What is the joy I want to feel and embody and embrace? What is the joy that wishes to come through me?
So many times this joy feels elusive. It’s the thing I want more than anything, to feel vibrant, alive, awake, living in love, vibrating in the warm buttery richness of this moment, this body, this lifetime.
Yet I so often feel beaten down by all the to do’s of life, shackled by agreements and illusions of my choosing.
These are all concepts. Let’s get real. What are the moments when I feel unfettered joy? Perhaps this joy is linked to my senses.
I feel joy in nature. I AM nature. And being out of doors, out beyond these walls, away from screens and the high-pitched hum of Wifi. My feet, walking one step at a time, the soft squish of my shoes on sand and stone.
I take great joy in the shape of trees. Round, oval, outstretched—willow, elder, oak. When I really look…not as a spectator, but as a shy and curious visitor to this land, I find myself in awe of their size and expanse, of their ability to weather whatever comes their way, of their ancient wisdom that lies within.
I take joy in exploring unknown places. Unknown, meaning unknown to me. I marvel in delight when I discover someplace new, somewhere I haven’t yet been. It’s the infatuation of meeting someone for the first time and knowing right away I want to learn more.
I am ecstatic with joy when I experience magic. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen, and I give it more meaning than simple coincidence.
A few days ago I was in my backyard, moving my body slowly in simple meditation, offering reverence to the morning, the earth, the birdsong, the sky. I stood on a rock, bare-footed, under a flowering red-tip photinia tree…its leaves a mosaic of red and green leaves and sweet smell of honeysuckle spring.
I heard the sound before I saw it—a hummingbird buzzing in the branches above.
ZZZZZ. Closer this time. I moved even more slowly, turning myself in a circle, wondering if I could catch a glimpse.
ZZZZZZ. And there it was, less than two feet from my face, its wings vibrating at miracle speed—suspended perfectly in mid-air.
We were eye-to-eye, Hummingbird and I. The intensity of our stare surprised me, and I backed up a bit, involuntarily. I didn’t know what to do. This Hummingbird wasn’t backing down. Clearly, I was in its way, but it wasn’t hostile about it. I looked at me as curious as I looked at it.
“I see you,” I said.
Another long stare, an acknowledgment of the truth between us, two different earth creatures that inhabit the same world. And then ZIP it was gone. A moment, a messenger, magic.
I feel joy when my mind is put to a halt, when I’m still and relaxed enough to feel the breath in my body, to touch down to earth, to listen and connect with spirit.
I read in my I-Ching that while our culture encourages us to take charge and make aggressive demands in life, now is a time to deepen our humility and acceptance, and listen with care.
Our minds are a cauldron—we add the ingredients (our thoughts) and cast a spell on ourselves. Our thoughts are our offering to the world. I can offer the world my grumpiness, self-pressure, restlessness, need for perfection, and trance of unworthiness. Or I can offer my sense of wonder, my curiosity, my self-kindness, my generous spirit, my love of beauty and poetry and music. My joy. I have it. It’s in here. This is the offering I wish to make.