Where Joy Resides

UpsideDuck

It can change in an instant. And it does. Mood. You can feel sad, alone or despondent one minute, and then, poof! Something shifts.

It happened to me this morning. I awoke feeling sluggish and edgy – something quite unusual for me. I couldn’t seem to shake it. As I got dressed for my routine walk, I almost decided to stay home. But I pulled on my new brightly colored sneakers and jumped in the car, headed for a local park. The skies were threatening and tree limbs swayed as I made my way to the dirt path that ran along a canal. The breeze picked up suddenly, catching me off guard. I took a deep breath in.

Two ducks napped, their soft heads folded back under a wing, seemingly unaware of the weather, or of me passing within a few feet of them. Another was busy fishing for breakfast, her head bobbing in and out of the water. When she tipped forward, all I could see was tail feathers and orange rubber legs.

A small older gentleman hurried by, with a “You’re going to get wet!” I grinned and nodded. “That’s okay”. And it was okay. Maybe that’s just what I needed  – a good rain shower to rinse away my melancholia.

About a half mile later, as I took in the ominous, low-hanging clouds ahead of me, I felt my foggy funk beginning to lift. Then I saw them – even before I felt them. Raindrops. A landscaper huddled under a nearby tree. But I kept walking. How long had it been since I walked in the rain without a hood or an umbrella? I became almost euphoric, looking up into the sky as the raindrops grew in size and intensity. My arms reached up and out, as if to make sure the wetness touched every inch of my skin. I sauntered by the hen house and gave them my usual hello: “Good Morning, Ladies.”  They were running in circles.

I began to hear my footsteps, as water squirted out from my socks. Why was this so funny? Water trickled down my face and dripped off the tip of my nose. I had a hard time seeing, so I close my eyes tight every so often to clear my contact lenses. I squatted to chat with some ducklings, before Momma ran over to scold them. Or me. Before I knew it, I was back at my car.

So this is it. For me, this is always it. Sometimes you know why you’re feeling down. Other times, it creeps up on you out of nowhere. But by becoming fully engaged in your present circumstance, your sadness gets folded into the richness of the moment. It doesn’t feel sad anymore. It just feels like  another satisfying piece of “now”. 

Sometimes we think it takes a storm to shake loose sad feelings. But is rain really more invigorating than sun? Is wind more cathartic than stillness?  In the beginning stages of being mindful, it can seem so. But soon you know it’s not true. Everything we need is right in front of us. And it’s perfect, just the way it is. When we let ordinary things hold our attention, we suddenly remember where joy resides.

 Have you experienced times when you couldn’t shake a feeling? Leave a question or comment below… 

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