A Simple Guide to Joy Riding
Written by Katie Tallo
Joy. I love the word. It’s short, sweet and playful. Even the letters are blissful. The ‘j’ swoops, the ‘o’ is all cozy in the middle, the ‘y’ cradles the ‘o’ and yet has an openness about it. When it’s uttered your mouth forms a kiss. Its meaning is sublime, evoking bliss, pleasure and happiness, and it’s derived from the Latin ‘gaudium’ meaning rejoice.
Joy is a rejoicing, a celebration, an utterance, a shape, a sound, a place deep within and a sensation.
Recently, I felt this sensation of joy overwhelm me for no apparent reason. It was a grey day. I’d just dropped my daughter at the bus stop and was driving down a city street on my way to run errands. It was a Tuesday morning. Nothing special about the day really, other than this intense feeling of joy that permeated my insides.
Where was it coming from? Why was I feeling it so strongly?
There was no rousing music on the car radio, no inspirational sunrise on the horizon. In fact, I was sitting in a construction zone in a traffic jam surrounded by bulldozer dust clouds. Smiling like an idiot ear to ear. The guy holding the stop sign must have thought I was either bonkers or flirting – badly.
As I navigated past the construction, headed through town, got my groceries, visited a friend, picked up some stuff for work, went home, made lunch and sat down to write, joy was there, my constant companion.
Why did joy come along for the ride? Because I invited it. I opened the door to joy. And that’s why it sometimes tags along unexpectedly.
This is my simple guide to joy riding:
Open the Door
It doesn’t matter where you are, there is room for joy. No matter how small your space, how nervous you feel, how far afield you are from your dreams, how old you are, how young, tired, sick, trapped, sad, stuck or lonely – joy will fit. Open your heart to the good around you – the small blessings, the sweet moments, the gifts, the silence, the space, the abundance, nature, love. Even if all you have is yourself and your health. Make that enough and make room for joy. When you let joy in, more follows.
When life feels joyless, listen carefully. Joy tends to reverberate from what you truly love and from what is good for you – not from the colours, foods, places, ideas, labels or people that were chosen for you, are unhealthy or that you are addicted to. Listen to your joy and begin to surround yourself – even if it has to be done slowly, one person, one object, one task or one habit at a time – slowly and simply surround yourself with resounding joy.
Study the science of you. Not the you that people tell you to be, but the you that is made up of all those tiny details, quirks, likes and I-get-its that make up you. Joy comes from paying close attention to your you-isms. Learn to recognize what makes sense to you, what feels right, what you want your world to look like, what you really get and don’t get. Knowledge is the leverage you’ll need to let joy in.
Don’t fight your joy. Embrace your you-isms. When I was growing up, I was bossy and independent. I also hated Sundays. They gave me an empty, sad, disconnected feeling. That feeling had a lot to do with being told I had to go to school Monday to Friday. Now, Sunday is one of my favourite days of the week because I embraced my joy by creating a life that is anything but Monday to Friday. When your you-isms drive your life, joy comes along for the ride.
“Joy is prayer. Joy is strength, Joy is love.” ~ Mother Teresa
I encourage you to open that door, discover what your joy sounds like and find a way to embrace it in each and every choice you make about how you live. Why not make your life a joy ride?