# 2 Joyful Beliefs 2018

Practicing Joy in the World

February 10 – March 21

“The soul is
for its own joy,”

says Rumi,

the ideal statement
to open the forty days
between February 10 and March 21,
the month of spiritedly asking the question,
over and over again,

“What can I believe about joy? “

In the northern hemisphere these are the days when our Earth tilts again toward our Sun, part of the delicate life-renewing dance these two perform together. In the practice of joy this month, we travel again through the elements, earth, water, fire, and air, adding the element of space or spaciousness, and notice their correspondences:

Earth: our bodies

Water: our blood and bodily fluids

Fire: our bodies’ warmth

Air: our breath

Space: our consciousness

For this month of exploring Joyful Beliefs, we look for the treasure in each element, and each correspondent. The treasure embodies those things we cherish most sweetly. Discerning the treasure thoughtfully, touching it tenderly, creates a warm flow of powerful beliefs.


In the crack between the concrete walkway and the concrete step, a bunch of violets has urged its way to life, creating such a lone and miraculous beauty that it invites me to stop and marvel. How joyful that is! I stand transfixed, and invite the sun’s warmth to touch me, and my awareness, with a new light. Realizing how deeply my body cherishes beauty, especially when it appears so unexpectedly and suddenly, I understand again that Joy is. It simply is. Present, whether I notice it or not. I can believe that joy is part of those violets, and I can enhance that joy for myself, and perhaps for the world, by paying fresh attention to the violets of joy that enter my body when I stand still and really look.


A glass of water, shared with the plant at my window, refreshes both of us. A spritz of water to my face, and to the leaves of the plant, wakes us up, the plant and I. Refreshment and awakening both sing through my consciousness and I can feel the response in all the complex fluid systems in my body. They rejoice. Imaginatively, I “feel” the same response in the plant, as it drinks in the fluid all the way through its roots and veins. And that response seems filled with joy. I realize again how deeply I cherish and am thankful for the gifts of water. How joyfully water works through the world. That sense of cherishing pulls to it a belief I can entertain: joy sustains life.


My work today led me to the Yeats’ poem beginning,

“I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head…”

Suddenly my own head was on fire, my heart was on fire, and my consciousness, and I became aware again of how powerfully I feel moved by poetry, how profoundly I cherish words of power. And how they stoke my inner fires with joy. That realization, occurring today for perhaps the thousandth time, nevertheless strikes like new every time. From that fiery joy comes the possibility of believing that joy warms us, and is wildly contagious.


Somewhere a neighbor is using a leaf blower. The sound roars through the air and I see blown leaves tumbling across the lawn. Usually that sound is annoying and I just wish it would stop. Now, however, I pause in that wish and consider the power of air, and imagine that it’s possible to see this abrasive work as a contest — a joyful contention — between the air itself, concentrated in that force being pushed aggressively through a loud machine, and the teasing leaves. This gives me time to become aware of different kinds of breathing – gasps, sighs, snores, and the breath that comes when we laugh. So I laugh out loud. And joy enters, with the awareness of how precious laughter is. With it comes a new belief: Joy arrives when it’s invited.


Joy in the World. And in me.


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