The Lighter Side of Transformation

with Lisa Wessan, LICSW

Joy is a Groove

So I have been wondering this week — in the height of the holiday frenzy –“What is JOY? What is this all about, really?”  After receiving at least a dozen holiday cards with JOY boldly printed in on them, I was feeling quite provoked to know more.  For today, I am looking beyond  Psalm 126:5 and John 15:11, for as much as I love those scriptures, there  is  more to explore concerning joy.

I wrote a few words about this here on 12/21/09, and then two days later I just happened to come across this beautiful and astute description of joy — totally by “accident,” I was not in research mode at all. This is just more evidence of the not so hidden nature of the Universe, this thing we poetically call synchronicity…those  amazing coincidences that occur regularly.

The surprise came in from left field…my husband and I were at the Lyric Stage in Boston the other night to see a play. We had arrived early, so I picked up some of the free local cultural periodicals that were available. One of them was Boston Seniority (Nov. 2009, Vol. 33, Issue 8).   In an article entitled “The Pursuit of Joy,”  Cassandra Baptista, an Emerson student, described an unlikely meeting she had with Clarence Washington, 74. 

While they sit on a park bench at the Kelleher Rose Garden in the Back Bay, Washington shares his colorful adventures and  highlights some of his bizarre career choices, a truly exhilarating zig zag of living, and finishes with his spontaneous definition of joy:

“I don’t know what my life was about,”
Washington said, “but I know this much:
joy is the one thing we are all searching
for. Joy is a groove. Joy moves and expands
like heat. You have to replenish
it. Joy is it. Whatever you’re doing, ask
yourself, ‘Are you having a good time?’ If
you have joy, nothing will ever be against

I read this and smiled to myself…I loved Washington’s description of joy. “Joy is a groove…”   Yes, joy is a vibrational frequency…we are either in the joy vibration or  not.  It is my personal and professional goal to spend more time in the joy vibration and help others get there and stay there, too.

Plus,  the Universe is clearly listening to my thoughts…offering up great answers to my queries. How good is that? More fingerprints of God, the Oneness, or as I liked to think, JOY = Just One You!

What does joy mean to you?  I’d love to hear…’tis the season to share your joy…do tell! This is clearly the topic du jour…

©2009 by Lisa Wessan. All rights reserved.


What is Joy?

We’re in the season of JOY…

What is the difference between joy and happiness?

Happiness comes from the root, ‘to happen,’ and reflects the idea that when good things happen, we are happy — and when bad things happen, we are not happy. So this experience of happiness is driven by external events, which are, for the most part, out of our control (with all due respect to the Law of Attraction and the Power of Intention, which do remain operative here…we’ll formerly explore the paradox of free will vs. destiny another day).

Is the pursuit of happiness kind of silly? Are we foolishly trying again and again to get juiced from the ephemeral effects of our lives? New job – happy, scratch important CD – unhappy, new shoes – happy, tear pantyhose – unhappy, no traffic – happy, heavy traffic – unhappy, sunny weather – happy, heavy storms – unhappy, friend calls on time – happy, friend is late – unhappy, good dinner out – happy, unpleasant meal out – unhappy, father alcoholic – unhappy, father gets sober – happy, invited to party – happy, not invited to party – unhappy, good gift – happy, lousy gift – unhappy…Doesn’t this search for happiness merely become a chase after the total control of life? We want what we want when we want it…and then if we get it we are happy…otherwise…watch out! Here comes the complaining…

Joy comes from a state of mind that knows a few things, with an unconditional optimism and anticipation of well being built in. So what is JOY? How about: there is Just One You! The idea that we are all connected, we are part of this vast ONENESS, the Universe, the Source, the Field, God as you understand God…brings a certain relaxed excitement to living. When we are consciously in the Oneness, we are likely to feel the joy of it all…

Joy is contagious. We can pass it forward in so many ways…living with joy seems to shift people into a vibration that can uplift those nearby. When we feel joyful and do good deeds for others it doubles and triples our joy – and those who receive it will spread more joy into their lives.

Yesterday we had a snow storm on the eastern seaboard…I went to a morning event for a few hours, and when I returned to my car in the outdoor parking lot it was covered with over six inches of snow. After brushing the snow off of my car, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to come back to my car and see that it had been swept clean?” Not in a hurry to get home, I brushed the snow off both cars on either side of mine. As I imagined the looks of surprise and delight from these strangers, I really got into scraping the ice off their windshields and making their cars ready to go…this increased my joy tremendously. I still get a warm thrill from the thought of it.

Joy is a more consistent state of mind, joy is long-term, rising and falling but always present, less of a roller coaster ride, more of a smooth cruising ride. Feeling joy, knowing joy, is more about living in peace with some passion thrown in. Peace by itself? Kinda quiet over there. Peace with a joyful twist – now we’re talking about living well.

©2009 Lisa Wessan. All rights reserved.


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