[The Balance Point]
What Brings Us Joy? [What Is Beautifully Poetic In Our Lives?]
I look at becoming too serious about life and the danger that this can push the joy away. Looking at how I react to what other people think and say, I determine to bring the joy back into my life by looking at what I love.
What is the relationship between light and darkness? How are they relevant to the appreciation of joy? How can I embrace my love of light to bring joy back. Light is, and always has been, important to me. As a metaphor I see light as a physical and a spiritual presence.
Light And Dark
Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.
Having spent most of my life working with light I can certainly relate to this. Light will always overcome darkness and will allow darkness to exist only by not being there. The problem for many people is fear of darkness, the idea that darkness can take over and extinguish the light. The candle pointed to by Anne Frank can always go out, but it is not the darkness which extinguishes it, it is that its flame is allowed to go out. This is the act of not maintaining the light rather than the darkness taking control.
As Brené Brown said,
The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.
Our joy is within our reach, as long as we welcome it into our lives.
Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments—often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we're too busy chasing down the extraordinary moments. Other times we're so afraid of the dark we don't dare let ourselves enjoy the light. A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable. I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude and inspiration.
Joy is an experience that brings colour to our lives, it creates depth and meaning. Joy is something that we need to watch for and welcome, but, as Brené Brown points out, it can be easy to miss because our seeking is too important. Joy is embedded in the ordinary, it is with us every day, if we take the time to notice it.
Why am I concerned about this? Surely this is something we all understand?
The Need For Joy
Last week I looked at the pandemic and issues surrounding it. Maybe I became a little too serious, maybe I emphasised the heavy aspects too much? I listened to a podcast this week that became a bit of a rant about wearing masks and mis-information. It upset me largely because I disagreed with the point of view being expressed. But then I thought about it and wondered why this was an issue for me. I realised it wasn't.
Yes, where it concerns me personally, physically, I am concerned about vaccination, social distancing and mask wearing—I am keen to take care of myself and ensure I do what I can to take care of others. But what someone thinks on the other side of the globe has nothing to do with this. I can let it go and stop being so serious about life—other people's life.
But, as was asked in a discussion I took part in this week, how do you let go? The more you focus on the issue of letting go the more it takes you over, the more you delve into the darkness. So that is why I come to light, something I have great familiarity with. To dispense with the darkness I need light.
I then asked myself how I can bring more light into my life, how I can dissolve the darkness, the seriousness, the concern about what others think and say. Joy is the answer. I have a great deal of joy in my life, I need to focus on it more. So here is just some of the joy in my life, some of the things that lighten my life and make it amazing. They are all ordinary things but they do add up.
As you get older, you want less from the world; you just want to experience it. Any barriers to feeling emotions get dismantled. And ordinary things become beautifully poetic.
What Brings me Joy.... (the Poetic in my Life)
Urmila: She is a beacon of joy in my life. The joy she brings verges on the extraordinary, but it is there every day, all day. We wake up with, "Welcome to another day in paradise." It is.
Food: This is something I enjoy with Urmila. We cook and we eat, relishing both. During lockdown the habit of cooking special meals for a Saturday night grew because we couldn't go out and do what we enjoyed. The Restaurante Los Cuatro Vientos was born. (Los Cuatro Vientos—The Four Winds, meaning all directions, everywhere—is the name of our house.) We still enjoy it, especially the atmosphere that we create with the meal.
Spain: I enjoy living in Spain. I love the culture and the people. We have been here for around 14 years now and we have not regretted it. Spanish people are very welcoming and love sharing what they enjoy about life. I have become a fan of the Carajillo, a favourite Spanish drink. It is just an espresso with a shot of brandy—delicious.
Boys: My two boys are a delight to me, I am so proud of them. They are grown up—both in their forties now—but I still remember them just after they were born. They are a credit to the world and they contribute a lot.
Reading: I have always loved books and continue to get a lot from them. Books are, in my opinion, one of the greatest inventions of mankind. They are powerful and can be dangerous. They are viewed with suspicion by many people, but for me they are my entry points to other worlds. I am so grateful for what they have brought me.
Writing: Loving books, I also love the act of writing them. I write a lot—for example here in these letters—expressing myself for others to experience and enjoy. I am a writer and am proud of that.
Yoga: I have talked in these letters about the yoga in my life, indeed about the yoga of my life. I find it way of delving deeper into my life and my soul. I continue to practice it day by day.
Walking: Walking has always been a passion of mine. When I lived in Scotland I spent many happy days walking in the Scottish Mountains, climbing the Munroes. In Spain I walk the ramblas enjoying the wild life I come across. Recently on a trip to Granada Urmila and climbed Mulhacén, the highest mountain in the Iberian Peninsula. We didn't reach the top, the cold and the cloud defeated us, still we enjoyed ourselves.
What things brings you joy? How often do you stop and think about them? I hope a lot.