Gratitude – the practice of joy

“Joy seems to be a step beyond happiness. Happiness is sort of the atmosphere you can live in sometimes when you’re lucky.  Joy is the light that fills you with hope, faith, and love. ”   Brene Brown, Gifts of Imperfection

I would tweak this understanding of joy just a little bit.  I don’t necessarily think that joy is a step beyond happiness. For me it is more a step to the side; a step into another state of being filled with light, hope and faith.  Joy is a state that seems to rest next to, or even all around, my other emotions.


I can honestly say that yesterday was one of joy for me. Being with my kids and a bunch of my extended family at a place that is designed for magic and play was amazing.  Feeling as giddy as a kid at rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and Buzz light year ride left me feeling as young as Sequoyah and Payton.  I was almost jumping up and down at the parade seeing all of the characters and the giant dragon.  Joy and happiness!

Throughout the day as I played and watched everyone else play joy flowed all around me like the cool air of the air conditioning we would step into every once in awhile.  Heavier emotions of sorrow at missing Russell and exhaustion from going probably far longer than I should have in the heat pressed upon me at various points.  A couple of times they came crashing through in quick bursts of pissyness.   But the joy of overflowing love and gratitude to be able to take this trip with family who I dearly love would then wash over me and my swirling insides would settle.

The more I practice gratitude, joy, and love everyday the easier it is to access these things in my darker moments.  The darker moments still come, sometimes quietly like a little mouse sneaking out for food before racing back into hide and sometimes like the crash of a wave crushing everything in its wake, but they do not hold the same power over me. I recognize these feelings for what they are, honoring the messages they have to speak to me, and I step into another space.

At least in this time, in this moment – the only moments I really can be sure of – I will wrap joy around me. I will fill myself with light, love, and gratitude so that the dark cannot take a stranglehold on my heart.

I will create the most magical place on earth inside of my own heart!