Fistfights and Unlocking Joy

If you reach into that metaphorical bag of joy…you’re bound to come up with something…

As I watched two people in front of me in a socially distanced line at a coffee shop almost get into a fistfight, I was snapped out of my reverie. I had been standing there, thinking about what I wanted to write about today. I was in my own little world thinking on joy and abundance and then I heard the screaming. 

This is a strange time, friends. People have very short fuses. We are all on high-alert, ready to attack and be attacked at any given moment because there is a silent killer in our midst. And instead of recognizing that we are afraid of something we cannot see, we go after what we can—our fellow humans.

I don’t like altercations like this and I buried my head in Domi’s chest. It makes me uncomfortable when people yell at each other. I become an ostrich and I stick my head in the sand, or really, my husband’s very comfy, warm chest. I get sad. I don’t want people to fight. Then Domi reminds me that it’s perfectly normal—people get upset with each other and it’s okay. These people got REALLY upset REALLY fast and I definitely didn’t think it was okay, but I decided I had to put on my big girl panties and be okay with this part of life, too. 

Our circuits are shorting faster than ever and I started to think that maybe a post on joy and abundance and happiness wasn’t right for today—then I thought, no, it’s perfect. It’s what we need. 

I’ve discovered there’s a difference between happiness and joy. 

The reason why we’re always grasping for and losing out on our fleeting happiness is that happiness relies on outside circumstances. Happiness requires someone to give you something, they must bestow on you a gift, physically or otherwise. It means someone makes you happy—but not joy.

Joy is a deep-seated peace with who you are, how you are, and what you are, which means—no matter what your circumstances are, you should be able to access your joy. 

But sometimes it feels impossible. How could we possibly be joyful right now when it feels like the world is crumbling? How can we access our joy daily, even if only for a moment? 

I meditated on this and thought and thought and thought about this all week. I am a pretty joyful person, but it took me a while to figure out how I access my joy when I am feeling low. 

First of all, sometimes I don’t want to access my joy—I want to be pissed, or sad, or disappointed for a time—a short time typically, but I have learned that those feelings are valid and need to be expressed and released otherwise they fester and become something really ugly. But once I have gotten passed the time where I need to punch a pillow or cry to a sad song or go to weeks of therapy, I am ready for joy to come back. Most of the time though it doesn’t just naturally appear when I am in a dark or negative place, so I have to dig down and find my joy remembering that she is always sitting there, quietly shining her light just waiting for me to open the door and release her glow. (Yes, my joy is a she. Yours can be anything you want it to be.)

Here’s what I do to take the key down from its hiding place and unlock the door to joy:

  1. I remind myself what I am grateful for and I write it down. Sometimes it’s only a few things, sometimes it’s pages and pages of tiny and massive things, but I write them down and I read them over and joy starts to peek her head from around the door. 
  2. I do something that gives me that warm glowy feeling (aka the beginnings of joy). I take a bath, I read a book, I go for a walk, I make the perfect cup of tea (Earl Grey with a dash of almond milk and a touch of honey—if you were wondering), I meditate, I call a friend or family member, I sit outside in the sun, I take a dance class—anything that brings that yummy heat to my heart and slowly the hinges on the door to joy’s hiding place start to creak a bit.
  3. I remind myself that joy is there, even when it’s dark and I tell my joy it’s okay to come out even when there is pain and suffering in the world, it does not negate it—it helps me stay strong enough to help others fight through it.
  4. I remind myself not to judge my decisions or those of others and instead look at all of my decisions as an opportunity to learn and know that anyone else’s choices are theirs and theirs alone and they have nothing to do with me so I should mind my own damn business. (My joy gets a good giggle at me during this step.)
  5. I write down exactly what I want my life to look like—some of the things I may already have, some will be intangible and some will be very, very tangible and surface, all are good and all are valid.
  6. I turn outwards and try to help someone else, this is when my joy busts through the door in all its glory and proclaims “I am here and I am ready to partayyyyyyyy”

Our joy may feel like it’s disappeared right now. That is a-okay. You are SO not alone. And there is no one, surefire way to find joy—joy is deeply personal, but your joy is also really, really big and bold when you want it to be. But more than anything if we can remind ourselves that joy is always sitting there, behind her door, waiting to be unlocked and unleashed she will come out and shine her light. Joy wants to come out and shine her light and no matter what is going on in the world joy is ready to be a part of it. 

Happy Friday my friends, if you’re feeling down and out of sorts, just remember that joy is sitting there and she hasn’t given up on you. Just remember joy and fistfights exist in the same world. I love you. XOXO, CAMDW.

  • Joy is certainly an amazing emotion. Sometimes I think it is even more impactful if it follows a disappointment or frustration or lesser joy filled experience. It feels like it means more or just feels more!!!