As part of trying to sort myself out this year, I've been participating in a variety of small groups online -- "chat" rather than Zoom, so I can visit at leisure, read and respond (if I want to). Yesterday one of the posts was about rediscovering joy, and the practices the writer had incorporated into her life to do so.
I've been a long-time journaller, and have shared my delight in fabric, fibre, floss and gardening in these blog pages -- but happiness isn't the same as joy. Dr. Brene Brown, in writing about the difference between the two in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, talks about the role of gratitude -- and how it's more than an attitude; it's a practice.
That was news to me. Until I read that, I'd thought about the trend of keeping a "gratitude journal" as, well, trendy. A fad. Another self-help 'fashion' that wouldn't really amount to much.
I was wrong.
Four days in to this series of posts, expressing gratitude in this arena, and I've already found nuggets of actual joy in my days -- such as the noisy parties the birds have been having in my ornamental fruit trees and around my evergreen shrubs, as they dine on whatever birdie goodies they can find.
Yesterday morning, I just sat and watched. I was so entranced that when the birds moved from view in my living room, I travelled down the hall to my bedroom to watch them there. As I became absorbed in watching their birdie behaviour, I realized the feeling that arose. It wasn't happiness; rather, it was happiness that gave way to delight that gave way to joy.
Today I am grateful for Dr. Brown's work, analysis and wisdom. I am also grateful for the beauty and busyness of birds -- and I am grateful for the gradual return of joy to my life.