Dear Humans: Oh Joy!

January 10, 2014

Dear humans,

Sometimes joy is the scariest emotion ever. I didn't want to say it aloud, because it sounds crazy, but then I just read some Brené Brown, and she confirmed it. Practically gospel, those books...

Often, committing to feeling true joy and/or hope feels downright impractical. I sit in rehearsal relishing these awesome performers working around me, and then I start to wonder if I'm enjoying it too much; I'm probably overlooking some huge structural flaw of the piece, or not digging deep enough. This isn't supposed to be all fun-- it's work!

Other times, it feels insensitive to be really joyful. I mean, there are friends bumming on facebook, and starving children in China. By all means, I should remember the less joyful!

And then there's the fear that big joy means big doom ahead. Anyone who's ever had an awful and unexpected event occur knows the rug-pulled-out-from-underneath-you punch in the gut. As a person of logic, I always look for a way I could have somehow anticipated the awful thing-- I was probably enjoying life too much, and overlooked this potential pitfall.

Going through life without surrendering to The Joy sounds fairly awful, though. Take it from the gospel of Brené:

We can't prepare for tragedy and loss. When we turn every opportunity to feel joy into a test drive for despair, we actually diminish our resilience. Yes, softening into joy is uncomfortable. But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen- and they do happen- we are stronger. 
[Brené Brown, Daring Greatly]

As usual, I write this all as a letter to myself. There are lots of big things in the air, all with their share of potential victories and messes. I dare myself to recognize the awesome things more often, admit how happy they make me, and hope for more. This is my invitation for you to strut your joy when you find it-- the world needs more unabashed happiness.

Heck Yes. Amen.

Most Sincerely,

a fellow human

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