Sunday, April 26, 2009

What Gives Me Joy

Without a doubt the number one source of joy for me is my granddaughter. I just saw her a little while ago. She and her parents stopped by my house on their way to the zoo. She is the most loving and affectionate person I know. I get excited every time I see her. I love her very much, even when she misbehaves. I hope I live long enough to watch her grow into a woman. Admittedly there are moments I wish she would also stay the little child she is now. However, I look forward to our continuing and developing relationship. Being her grandfather is the most satisfying role in my life.

Another huge source of joy in my life is music. Nothing, including people, has given me as many hours and moments of pure joy as music. It doesn't matter if I am alone, with a few close friends, or with thousands of strangers. Music has always been my best friend. I can't even imagine the joy it would bring me if I was also a musician.

The monastery is another source of joy for me although its joyfulness has diminished over the years because of my increased dealings with people within the context of the monastery. For many years it was my place of refuge and now, more often than not, I am there to participate in some type of group activity. Too often now it is work and no longer rest. Still, I am a lover of the place and it is one of the anchors of my life.

Solitude is also a source of joy for me. I am never unhappy when I am alone. Although I am generally kind and friendly with others, there are very few people who's company I truly enjoy. If I am honest, and I always try to be, I find that other people are best enjoyed in limited and small doses. It is the rare person who doesn't wear me out eventually. It sometimes bothers me that I find other people difficult to be around. I wish I was more outgoing and extroverted but I am not. I am who I am.

Books have also been a major source of joy for me. As the musician Robert Fripp once said, "Me and a book is a party. Me and a book and a cup of coffee is an orgy." I have been a bookworm since my childhood. I have owned and read hundreds, maybe thousands, of books in my life. I get totally lost in them and will take a book over television anyday.

Writing is also a source of joy for me, especially when others like what I write. However, I don't depend on other's approval, support, or feedback because I get very little of any of this. I primarily write for myself. It supports my own mental health although I am not sure it heals me of anything. It is a partial release of my thoughts and feelings. Complete honesty is simply not possible. Those thoughts and feelings are known only to me.

Finally, a beautiful day like today fills me with joy. My moods are affected by weather. A long string of overcast, cold, rainy days can make me feel depressed. A day like today with its blue skies, clouds, and sunshine can fill me with joy and enthusiasm for life.

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