This morning my bicycle and I rested lakeside following the triumph over a minor bike chain derailment and a major hill climb. Sitting on a point in a quiet picnic area, gazing at the cloud-filled blue sky and the shimmering water, I felt full of joy.
I've been talking about joy for almost a year, I thought to myself, but how do I define joy?
This is what I jotted in my notebook.
Joy is a feeling of glow within my heart and soul. Joy is a reason for being; a feeling that this thing/activity/person brings meaning and/or purpose to my life; a feeling of bursting with contentment.
What brings me joy in this moment is that I'm sitting in contemplation; I'm near the water, which is refreshing, rejuvenating and life-giving; the weather is ideal (mid-70s, breezy, sunny); the waves are lapping nature's rhythm.
And yet, sitting in this spot all day long would not be joyful. I would get uncomfortable, hungry, bored. I'd run out of water. I might be disturbed by mosquitoes or noisy boats or crowds of people in this public place.
However, this place in this moment is joy. And this is a setting I can return to again and experience joy. The setting may not be this exact place (in fact, this exact moment is simply not recreatable), but I can replicate the setting⏤water, waves, breeze, peace⏤elsewhere in Minnesota, across the country, around the world.
Joy is fleeting but a foundation to which I can always return.
Joy is where I am grounded.
Joy is soil from which being, meaning and purpose sprout.
What do you think? How do you define joy? What elements bring joy to your life? How would you describe a joy-filled setting?
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