Making space for joy

Making Space for Joy

I was reflecting this week on how important it is to give attention to joyful moments, to savour the awe and wonder of life and to celebrate the gifts that come to us, however seemingly small and insignificant.

It’s very easy to let emotions come and go, to pass them by or avoid them.

Their presence is easy to miss and we’re often aware of the more difficult ones as they can be stronger and pull more of our attention let alone being present to the small gifts that bring joy.

I went for my first early morning swim of the year in the sea last week. It was very cold – I never really got my breath back after it went when I got in the water.

I shared this experience with a dear friend and although we stayed in for just 10 minutes (partly because Moth, the year old hello lab was causing some havoc with people on the shore!) it was a lovely time.

For the rest of the morning I felt joy, a wonderful lightness of being, and I wanted to linger in it, savour and enjoy it.

Joy is a gift and yet I think it’s often hidden from view by other more demanding needs that we’re surrounded by both from others or within ourselves.

This mediation invites us to intentionally give time and space for joy…

Come to stillness by bringing attention to breath. Gently move away from the noise of the head and move into the body, travel inwards to the core, to the still, peaceful place where your true nature is enfolded in God. Allow stillness and rest to come to you. Settle into this quiet, true place.

As you settle here, bring to your attention a moment that you’re thankful for – something small like drinking a cup of tea in peace, feeling the sun on your face or talking with a friend. Or it could be something more momentous. Either is fine, but pick just one thing.

Enter into this memory. Remember what it felt like, what you notice about it, what it feels like in your body. Try to experience the moment as much as you can so that you are re-immersed in it.

Allow the emotions that this memory triggers to surface. Pay attention to them and surrender to them.

Name what you feel – Joy? Lightness? Exuberance? Excitement? Anticipation? Deep gratitude? Thankfulness?

Be present to these positive, joyful emotions.

As you feel these emotions, stay with them…

What do you notice?

Does an image or sensation come to you?

Do you sense they invite you to experience something deeper within yourself?

Do they open up a space within that you want to explore?

Do you want to respond to them in any way but saying or doing anything?

Be present to joy.

To finish, a poem by Mary Oliver  – Joy is not made to be a crumb.

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate.

Give in to it.

There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be.

We are not wise, and not very often kind.

And much can never be redeemed.

Still, life has some possibility left.

Perhaps this is its way of fighting back,

that sometimes something happens better than all the riches or power in the world.

It could be anything,

but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins.

Anyway, that’s often the case.

Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty.

Joy is not made to be a crumb.

As your Spiritual Director, I will be a companion on your spiritual journey, creating a safe place to help you discover the truth about yourself, about God and about your relationships with others.