The other day while browsing Facebook I happened on a link to a song a dear friend posted. Appreciating many of this friend's prior posts, I clicked on it and was delighted to listen to "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.
That song changed my entire mood, although I was not in a bad one to start. It had me moving in my chair, then I started clapping my hands and, finally, I was up out of my chair dancing. What I felt was joy. Pure, unfiltered, unbridled and unrestrained joy.
When was the last time I had felt that way?
The last 24 months have been full of challenges: good ones, terrible ones, not great ones, and ones easily overcome. You won't read about those on Facebook, you probably won't hear me speak of them in conversation. The worst part is, in facing those challenges, even those over which I triumphed, I had lost my joy. I'm not saying I wasn't happy, either. Those who know me know I'm generally a very happy person and certainly I have been happy, but joy was elusive.
Caveat: The exceptions have been moments with my now 5 year old niece. A toddler (and now a youngster) knows pure joy and can give it if you are open to accepting it. I am wide open to accepting her joy and it feeds my soul.
I never stopped working on the challenges to take a break, to maybe even celebrate the victory over them. I don't remember the last time I completely let joy overtake me, that I was able to live in that moment, in only that moment.
Eckert Tolle's book "The Power of Now" is about living in the moment, so is the concept of "Be here now". However, it's almost impossible to be in the moment with all of our phones, tablets, computers, media and distracted driving pulling at our attention. With the multitasking (or what we think is multitasking, but is really scattered productivity), it's impossible to fully experience one thing and only one thing.
How much richer could an experience be if it had our full attention? A conversation where we didn't check our phone? A drive where we didn't listen to news? Watching "Homeland" without playing Candy Crush Saga? Enjoying a meal without taking a photo of it to post to a social media site?
What if we just stopped.
What if we just stopped and lived in that moment? Would that let joy back in? Would stopping to let the sadness, the gladness, the emotion of the moment wash over us make it better?
I believe it would. I am actively working to focus on the now. To feel the water over my hands as I wash them. To look up at the sky and see the clouds, feel the breeze. I'm working to not be electronically connected ALL the time, but to be truly connected to the moment.
I want to again know that joy that "Happy" gave me for that instant. I want to know and experience joy over things more than a song. That means that I want to fully experience grief when it comes, to feel and acknowledge pain when I'm hurt emotionally as only through that do I believe I can heal from these things and move forward into joy.
Today I will take 10 minutes for me and be only in that moment, not thinking about what is going to happen after that 10 minutes or what happened before it. Only what happens during it.
And then I'll listen to "Happy" and I believe I'll dance. You can, too. Here's the link, below.
Pharrell Williams, "Happy"