How would you define the word? When/how do you experience it? Do you find joy in your everyday life?
Joy is certainly part of the recipe for a happy, healthy life…and, yet, somehow…I’ve left it out.
Thankfully, while “attending” the virtual version of The Stowe Weekend of Hope (SWOH), I was reminded of just how important joy is. Usually held in beautiful Stowe, Vermont, SWOH went virtual this year due to the coronavirus. There were workshops via Facebook Live, YouTube, on specific websites and Zoom.
“Radical Remission” was one such workshop.
Led by Kristi Cromwell, the workshop explained the work of Dr. Kelly Turner—the researcher behind “Radical Remission”. As a certified Radical Remission instructor and coach, Kristi was able to share the 10 Healing Elements comprising “Radical Remission”. The element that resonated most with me, was Increasing Positive Emotions, specifically joy.
It triggered something within me—starting a short-lived existential crisis, even. Did I know what joy was? When was the last time that I had experienced it? I know I felt it at our wedding, but was joy part of my day-to-day?
Kristi challenged workshop participants to think about what would bring more joy to their lives. According to Cromwell, just 10-minutes of joy a day can make a difference in one’s health. She also suggested starting small and eventually building upwards in terms of time.
Starting small seemed like a wise idea to me…but what was I supposed to start with? What brought me joy?
The answer to this question came to me while participating in Happy Brain Life’s “10 Days of Calm and Creativity” program via Facebook. In this journaling program, Liz Wiegardt focused on assisting Heart Centered women. She shared ways to increase calm during these precarious times as well as express creativity. I loved every minute of it! Liz holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology as well as a Certificate in Applied Neuroscience and Brain Health. She is well-educated in these areas. And, and, she is a great public-speaker!
It was one of Liz’s journal prompts that helped me find my “joy”. On Day 4 of the program, as a creativity prompt, she asked participants to “connect with music today…listen to your favorite song and dance!”.
Music? Dance? I had flashbacks of my teenage years.
Every morning, when I was getting ready for school, my CD player would be set to a ridiculously high volume. One of the bands that I played on repeat was a Christian rock band, Audio Adrenaline (audioa).
Somehow, as I grew older, I left the band behind. It wasn’t until earlier this year (pre-COVID), that I came across two of their albums at my parents’ house: Hit Parade and Worldwide. On a whim, I brought them home…and started listening again.
While teenage Laura was addicted to drums and electric guitar riffs, adult Laura is in love with the lyrics. I spend more time in the Bible these days, and, as such, I can now identify the scripture that may or may not have influenced these songs.
The songs, altogether, mean more to me now.
They inspire faith.
And, on Day 4 of the “10 Days of Calm and Creativity”, they inspired JOY.
In response to Liz’s prompt, I listened and danced to audioa’s “Underdog”. THIS—dancing as poorly and awkwardly as I do—is my JOY.
It’s freeing and fun!
I am still finding joy in the fusion of music and dance. Currently, I am hooked on audioa’s song, “Big House”:
Come and go with me
To my Father’s house
Come and go with me
To my Father’s House
It’s a big, big house
With lots and lots of room
A big, big table
With lots and lots of food
A big, big yard
Where we can play football
A big, big house
It’s my Father’s House
– Audio Adrenaline, “Big House” from their 1993 album, Don’t Censor Me.
This song—which makes me smile—also encourages me to contemplate John 14:2-3, in which Jesus says:
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
– As written in the the New International Version of the Holy Bible
How awesome are these verses?! An eternal home, prepared just for you and me.
Finding joy in music and in my poor dance skills, has helped me to identify it elsewhere.
I love writing. It is my creative project of choice. I’m approximately a quarter of the way through “converting” an old manuscript. And, yes, I do mean “converting” in the sense of changing the manuscript to Christian Fiction. Sure, it’s unpaid work. I believe, however, that writing is like planting a garden. You place the seeds in the soil, water and weed, and have faith that they will grow—that your efforts will yield a bountiful crop.
I hope, Dear Readers, that you, too, find some joy today and every day.
Thank you, once again, for your presence here. Of Pieridae and Perras would not be the same without you. I would not be where I am (alive) without you and your prayers. Stay safe! Stay healthy! I am sending light, love and prayers your way.
With Love & Gratitude,
Resources for the Curious:
For more information about SWOH, visit: https://www.stowehope.org/about-swoh.html.
To learn more about “Radical Remission”, watch Kristi’s workshop on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQnJzCPNQuw.
If interested, you can read about Liz Wiergardt and Happy Brain Life at: https://www.happybrainlife.com/about.