The Lighter Side of Transformation

with Lisa Wessan, LICSW

What is Joy?

on December 22, 2009

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.

2 responses to “What is Joy?

  1. Jackie says:

    Joy is the experience when our spirit and humanity merge. To me, joy is our compass, guiding us to our soul’s highest expression! Thanks for the article, Lisa!


  2. Dixie says:

    I LOVE the image of you brushing the snow off of the cars parked beside you. It brings a smile to my face and I bet it was a source of joy for them. Many years ago, I worked nights at a psychiatric hospital for children. It was the holiday season and for a variety of reasons, I wasn’t “in the spirit” . . . one night as I left my shift, I was delighted to find a small artificial tree tied to the top of my car!!! It was a gift of joy from the universe :-). Though it’s very much a Charlie Brown tree now, I still have it some 20 years later.


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