It was difficult to contemplate JOY the other week in the aftermath of the terrible terror tragedy surrounding the Boston Marathon. Even though we may not be directly affected by such an event, our hearts are. Our minds are. We become washed over with the questions of Why? Who could/would commit such a horrific act against his/her fellow man? What is the sense of it all? All the w-questions.
In response we think. We pray. We hug and hold our loved ones a little more tightly, a little longer. We offer up gratitude for life and being alive. We try to keep going, keep breathing, keep hope in our hearts alive.
But how do we reconnect and stay connected to the joy inside after something rocks our personal world, or our larger world?
For me, my yoga and meditation practices have played a big supporting role in my life when the carpet gets pulled from under my feet, when the hurt of dashed expectations sting, and when deep sadness shadows me.
Another practice is creativity. Creative practices can be enormously comforting, supportive and enriching the life experience, even in the midst of profound difficulty. Be it writing, cooking, gardening–there are many ways to get back in touch with joy. Even dancing is a beautiful way to cope with hardships, as it releases all kinds of energy, opening the body to more positive energy and healing to flow through it.
I find art and painting uplifting during moments of sadness, pain, confusion, upset. In my mixed media pieces, I often add a word or phrase to focus on while working, incorporating it into the piece. A bit like a mantra. It helps me to tune in to where I’m at, and where I can expand. Being able to be with the emotions that come up can be uncomfortable. Creativity can help break down the barriers. It can be a doorway to JOY. A path to rediscovering that place of happiness and joy in the heart. Even in the most trying of times.
What do you do when things fall apart, even if momentarily? What practices or habits have you cultivated to cope when the continental shifts of life strike unexpectedly? Where do you go to find the joy again?
Tracy is an an artist exploring the path where creativity & spirit meet. She is currently engaged in art/painting, fiber arts, writing and photography. Her blog, A Life of Joy, is a place for creative living & everyday celebrations.