The Month of Joyful Awareness
March 21 – April 30, 2020
God’s joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box,
from cell to cell. As rainwater, down into flowerbed.
As roses, up from ground.
Now it looks like a plate of rice and fish,
now a cliff covered with vines,
now a horse being saddled.
It hides within these,
till one day it cracks them open.
These forty days are the days of being cracked open. For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere this month for joy begins with that day of balance, the equinox announcing that spring has come. Every day thereafter, however, we are thrown off balance as we relish the full-bodied, multi-sensory glories of springtime.
My training in the arresting power of joyful awareness came from years of working with Sacred Theatre friends in Minnesota – in March. These amazing friends, including Marie Burgeson, Maria Genne, and Cris Anderson, showed me how to greet the new season.
They were each finely tuned human instruments utterly alert to any sign of spring. (In Minnesota the winters are long. Very long.) The sight or sound of a robin, for instance, set them trembling and ready to join the song, every nerve attentive, dancing to this music, this happiest of good news. A sense of relief made the absolute joy more poignant; it held a feeling of faith restored; the world is still turning! Hallelujah!
Joyful Awareness is that willingness to stand at vibrant alertness to anything that carries joy for you. And when it comes, to notice, pay attention, and celebrate. The best news is that joy is available at every moment, no matter what else may be happening.
As the Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us:
Happiness is always available, even when things are lost or even dying. He offers the example of coming upon a dead tree in a garden, which certainly makes us sad, but we are invited to notice that other trees are glowingly alive. Joyful Awareness does not deny sorrow, grief, regret, loss, shame. They are part of us and part of the great story of life on this earth.
And there is also joy – ebullient, effervescent, wildly present. Simply becoming more aware of that pungent fact can lift the heaviest sorrows, sometimes by a hair, sometimes by a hundred weight.
Looking for, becoming alert and alive to joy’s presence is a sweet and useful practice.
It’s fun to begin with the senses.
What is in the air that touches my skin with joy?
What is around this earth garden that tickles my nose?
What bathes my eyes in beauty and wonder?
What sound pulls my ears to attention?
Notice; attend; relish the feeling of gratitude for all the gifts of joy that come whispering or soaring toward you – like the robin’s song billowing over the still quiet, frozen earth.
If you’re brave, you will let it crack you open!
Praise, praise, praise for joy’s sometimes delicate, sometimes stormy embrace.
Praise to for the ability to be Aware.
Joy in the World
And in me.
Podcast with Peggy and Jane Battenberg
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The Lady’s Year for Joy
The Lady’s Year for Joy is your personal guide and journal as you seek, focus, explore, test, recognize, experience, embrace, offer, and report
the truth of Joy in the world.
For you and for gifting your friends — this new calendar will enrich your daily reflections.
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