This Thing Called Joy

I told some dear friends yesterday about my inquiry into joy and one of them asked, “You want to be more joyful?”

No. That’s not it exactly.

I love it when the incorrect reflection of something I’ve said asks me to dig deeper.

I don’t want balloons and ribbons when I sit down to write. I want a deep sense of well being. I want a feeling of “there’s no place I’d rather be.” when I am writing. I want to feel safe and connected in my isolation of putting words on the page.

As a child, when I tucked myself into my closet-fort of books, I loved being in the embrace of my home, while my thoughts roamed the worlds of books and comics. The journey of growing up is quite lonely, really. Even with a house full of siblings or a classroom of friends. There is a sense, I think, in every child that they are the only one with these very feelings choking them, buoying them, mystifying them. We retreat into safe places and parse those feelings. Some of us do it through reading or writing or drawing or building stuff. It doesn’t matter how. It matters that we are trying to grow a connection to our curiosity, our genius, our hearts. Independent of others. Eventually we emerge. We keep becoming. We enter room after room and know ourselves better. Sometimes the obligations and achievements of our lives pull us far away from that little room where all is well, where well-being lives, where we can be alone and connected and brilliant and whole and safe.

I want to feel that kind of joy every day when I write.