On Sunday, I went to the San Diego Zoo with my good friend Kris and saw first hand that enclosures can be very nice. The flamingos live happily squawking around a pretty pond. The monkeys and apes live in a jungle. But when we came to the gazelle, I was reminded of how much any enclosure can still be a cage. The gazelle had plenty of space to move but definitely not space enough to run the 50 MPH that they are capable of running.
In the same way a gazelle is capable of running very fast over great distances, I believe that we are each capable of being joyful on a daily basis.
People often choose to live in an enclosure of, “I’m not happy at the moment, but you better believe I’ll be happy and my life will truly begin when such and such happens or such and such is achieved.”
I remember clearly the moment when I started to appreciate the shape of the enclosure I was living in. A few years ago, when I was still residing in Sioux Falls, I had some time off for Christmas. Good fortune was with me as I was home with my parents, family and lots of friends. But all I could think of was, “Wow Jason, another Christmas is going by and you don’t have a girlfriend.”
Then suddenly, when we were driving through town on one of those wintry days, I had the thought, “Wait a minute, Jason. If you are not happy now as a single person, is there anything to say that you will be any more content when you have a girlfriend, when you are married, or, for that matter, when you have kids?”
Since that festive day, I’ve been gradually realizing that I can choose to take responsibility for creating joy in my life on a daily basis.
We do many things that make us miserable as a means to justify the end of theoretical happiness, as if misery plus misery plus misery plus misery plus misery equals HAPPINESS. The only major difficulty with this equation is that most of the time it doesn’t quite add up.
However the lucky thing is that we do have the freedom to take responsibility for nourishing joy within us and sharing that joy with others. Responsibility has been learned by many of us as a heavy concept as if we are Atlas and if we begin to dance for joy we will cause a catastrophe.
In fact, just the opposite is the case. When we are dancing for joy, we encourage and inspire others to dance for joy around us. And the world becomes more secure.
When we are whole and joyful, we are the gatekeepers with the power to let ourselves free from our enclosures of discontentment. We can start asking rich questions, laughing, telling inspiring stories, treasuring everyone around us and ourselves in a way that creates an immediate environment of joy around us that ripples out for other people to savor.
The joyful life is not about the pursuit of happiness in the future, but about the extraordinary result of creating happiness right now. Every moment is an opportunity for us to figure out how to produce the extraordinary result of being joyful.
Game Of The Day
Today what can you do to discover joy in your daily routine?