“One regret, dear world,
I am determined not to have
When I am lying on my deathbed
Is that
I did not kiss you enough.”

- Poem called “I Am Determined” from the book “I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy - Renderings of Hafız” by Daniel Ladinsky

The most important learning for me from 2020 was about my relationship with joy. As I sat in extreme amounts of difficulty and dysregulation, I found that there were still moments when I could choose joy. This didn’t mean my stress, difficulty, or dysregulation disappeared. It rather meant that I could add joy as another ingredient into the mix, in a very intentional way.

I could decide to lighten up a little bit. I could decide to widen my perspective. I could decide to trust. I could decide to put on music and have a 10-minute dance party at home. I could find something to celebrate and invite a few people to celebrate it with me. I could read on joy. (In 2020, we read The Book of Joy as Mudita Mindfulness Community.) I could insert a little joke or caricature into a serious mindfulness talk. I could make 5 minutes to connect with a colleague during a Zoom marathon. I could play more, be more playful.

Joy is a practice - the more I practice it (intentionally), the easier it becomes. One of my deepest intentions for 2021 (and the rest of my life) is to practice joy more.

I leave you with this poem by Hafız that sums it up really well for me:

What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping Over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think

You have a thousand serious moves.”

- Poem called “Tripping Over Joy” from the book “I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy - Renderings of Hafız” by Daniel Ladinsky

For Your Reflections

  1. Do you have a joy practice? If yes, what does it look like? If not, what could it look like for you?
  2. What does it mean to you to practice joy in the midst of very challenging situations?

This was the last part of Fundamentals: My End of 2020 Reflections.

Go back to the beginning: Fundamentals