Practicing Joy in the World
March 22 – April 30
declares the poet
in his poignant, enchanting poem,
“Stealing Sugar from the Castle.”
That’s what we’re about during the forty days between March 22 and April 30: playfully discovering the grain of sugar in every moment.
What better employment than becoming a detective of joy, seeking it, finding it, imbibing it, even getting drunk on it. What better time for joyful awareness in our hemisphere than during these days when the sun and earth enjoy the sweet passions of their yearly love affair that we call spring.
Practicing joy this month, we find guides in the life-giving elements, the earth herself, precious water, heartwarming fire, and the wildly moving air. To these we add the element of space, and notice how each corresponds to a gift inside us.
Earth: our bodies
Water: our blood and bodily fluids
Fire: our bodies’ warmth
Air: our breath
Space: our consciousness
For this month of practicing Joyful Awareness, we discover there is intoxicating joy in seeking joy; the gracious gift it bestows is that it is always exactly, exuberantly, where we look for it.
What better than Shakespeare’s “daffodils, that come before the swallow dares, and take the winds of March with beauty…” They stand erect and welcoming to the guest who wanders by: the prancing dog, the enchanted neighbor, the curious ant.
When I stand beside the daffodil and notice its face turning slightly toward each visitor, I take its presence and its stance into my own body and suddenly stand straighter, become more aware of the visitations of others, and discovering renewed joy in sharing aliveness with all things that grow. My beautiful sister, the glowing joy-filled daffodil.
Today the rain falls softly on my hair and face; just standing in it brings joy. Shakespeare speaks again in my head, describing the quality of mercy, which drops from a heaven of gentle rains. And I realize again that water is a closed system, these raindrops may have hidden in the clouds for days, were perhaps drawn up from the ocean many tides ago. As my skin absorbs the raindrops, I open to these new waters, and imagine the surge of all the waters in my body taking in refreshment. And new joy flows.
Meanwhile the fireplace, center of my living space, glows with the promise of staying warm no matter what the outside brings. So shines the pilot light in my heart and the joy of not even having to think about it reminds me of the wonders of our ancient nervous systems. They keep our essential life processes churning away no matter what else may be going on. Becoming aware, even tangentially, even for a moment, of those incredibly wise inner workings of fire, electricity, communion, brings awe and then joy, like fire, leaps up to warm and comfort us.
Last night’s wild March winds upended the rhododendron plant’s container. How annoying! Yet how cleansing that wind is; how joyfully gallant it feels to walk out and stare into its very face, daring it to play and skitter and surprise us. Challenge us. So joy as the blowing wind enters our breath, and begins to breathe through us, commanding, “Pick up the fallen plant with breath and joy, feel it shake itself out and begin to grow again, and triumphantly shout out words of joy to send around the world.
Joy in the World. And in me.
Buy the new calendar:
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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