How to Choose Joy, in both Miracles and Messiness

"It brings me joy" by Tamara Magnitsky
“It brings me joy” by Tamara Magnitsky

It is JOY week! Hip hip hooray! JOY is truly the cornerstone of Bliss and also my favorite Bliss Habit of the entire bunch. As I was waiting for JOY week to begin, my hiatus not really proceeding as I might have wished (read about the Birthday-apolooza that never happened here!) I noticed something. I was waiting for JOY. I was tiptoeing along hoping it would show up and/or I wouldn’t do anything to disturb it. I was behaving as if JOY was something that arrived and for which one gingerly prepared.

How about you? Do you do this too or are you able to find joy in every circumstance?

Then just as the JOY week I had been counting on was about to arrive my computer flaked out and I hadn’t yet written this post. “What a great way to start Joy week.” I complained to myself. I could have wallowed in my frustration however, instead of the planned writing, I spent some time with my family. We did nothing very special, Rob and I laid under the small tree in our yard and watched as our girl climbed and performed her “fantastic tricks.” She also served us a picnic of potato chips and water. In the craze of go, go go and do, do do, we just sat around! How marvelous and truly joyful.

I chose joy anyway and realized it is always that simple. Let’s choose joy.


JOY  by January Handl

Its interesting to think about


when I am experiencing some

of the worst physcial pain of my


because thinking has no lasting

relationship to


All this week, snap-shot moments

framed with a grace

of transcendent


lifted me beyond my

skin-encased hurt:

*Gazing into the eyes

of a 3 month old babe

and seeing a wholeness and

curiosity of gentle light

*Watching tendrils of fog

becoming startling beams

between the finger-branches

of mighty redwoods

*Trance-ing into the lullabye

pulse of the briny-breathed

vast expanse of ocean

My body: an unfettered

miracle of systems and connections and experience

tethered by memory,

has the incredible ability

to hold at the same time:

Miracles and messiness

Touching tenderness and steely determination

Acute pain and boundless, effortless


Yes Joy can hold it all. It can play at parties and when things seem gloomy. It is within, as January said, miracles and messiness.

Joy isn’t something to be waited for. Joy can be found in all our moments. Tamara found it in a spring flower. I found it in a change of plans. Joy is something we choose. Your initiative for the week is to choose joy. No matter the circumstances, pain or pleasure, joy can be found.

How are you going to choose JOY today?


Tamara and January are here each Monday to help set the mood for the week!

Tamara Magnitsky

Tamara Magnitsky, a child of the wild blue yonder,
has been an ardent student and advocate for poetry, photography and excellence in general.
She is the mother of a 6 year old daughter and a beloved wife.
She can be found most days.

Bio written by Cary Brosius ~Tamara’s husband  🙂


January Handl

January Handl is first and always a mother, has been a preschool teacher and parent educator for 25 years. She is currently the Director/head teacher at Gazebo Park School, and lives at Esalen Institute in Big Sur. She lives simply in awe of existence.

She calls her photo “hot tub bliss”  🙂

4 thoughts on “How to Choose Joy, in both Miracles and Messiness

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you so much Jennifer! Pardon my delay in responding, my computer was being flaky and I am just now catching up! Thank you for sharing your post in Chel’s link up to!

  1. LOVELY! I love JOY here! And JOY is one of my favorites too! I try to look for the good in all circumstances. Sometimes that’s not always easy. And when the tough gets going, it really does become about making the crucial choice–either stay stuck or choose JOY. JOY sounds better! ;o) So, yes, let’s choose JOY! Imagine a world if we all chose JOY…

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