Finding Joy

Our joy carves out the space for our sorrow and our sorrow carves out a space for our joy.” Khalil Gibran from The Prophet

Let’s rewind back a couple months. A couple monumental public figure losses and almost a million global lives, countless Zoom meetings and bottles of sanitizer, another Beyonce visual album and marches in the streets—early 2020. That was the last time I felt full-bodied joy. That joyful event would be many people’s vision of dread: 6am, dripping sweat, a dark room, black lights, loud music, and someone yelling boxing combos over a microphone.

I certainly experience joy, small peaks of euphoria while singing Fleetwood Mac at the top of my lungs in the car. Or in quiet, unexpected bursts after a long run and a hot shower. However, as I go about my everyday business – sprinting to meet deadlines, standing in front of the open fridge, aimlessly scrolling through social media – I wouldn’t say joy isn’t the largest emotion I experience.

Even before 2020 served us this further unveiling of the United States problematic past coupled with a global pandemic, many of us treated joy like the good china, only warranted on special occasions. Even if we know it is at the tip of our fingers, many of us treat it like it’s out of our control. So do we dare seek joy at a time when death, suffering, and terror are grabbing all the headlines?
To answer that question, personally I ventured down the path of unpacking the idea that joy is not extraneous, something you have to earn, or off on the sidelines. The fact of the matter is that laughter is important. Joy is important. It’s not a guilty pleasure, it’s a strategic move toward the future we all need and want to create. Also, most importantly, finding. creating, and feeling joy is a practice.

What we’ve seen so far in 2020 is the unveiling of what is essential. So, on one hand, we’re all exhausted and our nervous systems are hanging on by a thread, but there’s a clearer sense of what is essential to our communities. Of course we as a society recognize being a healthcare worker is so significant, but its also crucial to be a waste management worker, a grocery store employee, postal worker or a delivery person. The essence and purpose to that and recognition from the community feels joyous to me.

On the days that feel completely void of all hope I try to rest in this quote by Khalil Gibron’ “Our joy carves out the space for our sorrow and our sorrow carves out a space for our joy.”

This quote is a reminder that the destruction we see is essential to make more room for a new place of liberation and joy. One in which our children are laughing, free to fully express their joy. They can go wherever they need to go. There are no borders holding them. That is what I am living and loving, and hitting those high notes in traffic. 

Written by: Nicki Butler
Operations Assistant
Body Techniques

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