Forgetting to Joy — Why gratitude journals don’t always work

Joy. Often spoken of and analysed but not often felt — and strangely enough often pushed away with skepticism…

One thing the path has laid before me is Joy — not just the concept — or even the feeling — but the true knowing or experiencing of Joy. And a challenge.

Image courtesy of Splitshire

Dare I feel it more often that I am used to — and more often than I thought possible (?)

Daring to feel joy seemed to me a slightly contrary approach to happiness.

Whatever your opinion is about using the concept of joy in a marketing campaign, the fact that even Johnny Walker is talking about it means that it is definitely within our group consciousness. Except perhaps our definition or understanding of it is where we get tripped up.

I don’t know about you but I have this habit of viewing Joy as something to create, attain, grasp, manifest or discover— instead of just feeling it fully whenever I am able to. I question it’s origins and motives, alternatives or successors — and perhaps cling on too tightly, just in case there really isn’t more where that came from.

Then I try to “un-do” whatever I think responsible for “un-creating” what I thought was the source of my joy when things change.

As they do.

Which confirms my initial suspicion that the shoe was going to drop anyway. And then wondering how come if Joy is our natural state according to so many teachings it is so hard to come by or hold on to…

If you found the above hard to follow, imagine what it’s like being in my mind — trying to rationalise Joy. How pointless — and exhausting.

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude. Karl Barth

Then I came across this quote that really resonated because of its honesty and small — but important — change in its definition of gratitude.

The conventional idea of “gratitude” used to irritate me — by my own definition or understanding of it. I don’t believe that gratitude journals work necessarily (at least not for me — each person’s experience is of course different) — the premise of being grateful that things could be worse is not always helpful. Why should I be grateful that I’m not starving — I want to live in a world where nobody is starving. Especially because people starve not due lack of resources but rather the greedy allocation thereof (but I digress, more on this later).

Gratitude journals felt like I was trying too hard — faking my way to happiness.

In theory I have everything to be grateful for — I’m currently in Ubud, Bali — my only “job” over these next few weeks is to write — and learn as much as I can about creating this online platform to share and exchange ideas around Equality, Travel and Spirit. I’ve put so much pressure on myself to write write write that I’ve (almost) forgotten to have fun. To Joy.

I feel slightly guilty when I’m not writing — cheating myself out of Joy basically.

Sunrise over Lake Batur, Bali

I could have missed out on this sunrise for example. I decided to go here at 11pm, had to get up at 2am and hike up a mountain for 2 hours but it was absolutely worth it.

I met beautiful people — like 2 little boys, who hike up Mount Batur everyday before going to school. They make money selling drinks to the people at the summit — I probably paid way too much for my drink but I got to hand it to them — they had a great business idea, selling to a captive market.

The whole trip messed with my sleep patterns so I lost a day of writing but so what? Now I have something special to write about.

I’m still finding a balance between saying yes! to unexpected adventures and getting side-tracked from my goals but what I will say is that I have redefined my “job” somewhat — it is to allow in as much Joy as I dare — it’s my way of saying “Thank You”.

This probably won’t mean that circumstance will always be as I prefer — life and our reaction to it is a work in progress. I wish it were not so but that’s how it is. I will however leave you with this quote I saw on a friend’s notebook that he picked up in Cambodia — and if anyone knows about suffering and taking life’s good with the bad it is the Cambodian people.

Image courtesy of Picography

Wishing you the courage to Joy.

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Dear Earth People is a new idea sharing, content and learning platform about topics related to Equality, Travel and Spirit, based on the belief that a better world can be created through the balance of feminine and masculine both individually and collectively.

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