I remember the first time I feel in love.  It was absolutely unreal.  If you’ve never felt it I pray you do.  Everyone should have that at least once in their life.  I literally think I could have come off the ground and flown, if I’d focused on it hard enough.  I thought of nothing, worried about nothing, and could, in that moment, not foresee any way I would ever not have this feeling.  Oh Eros is powerful.  It was total bliss.

However, as you might imagine, what goes up, must come down.  When my view from the mountain top ended, with tears and heartache, I plummeted to the valley.  Nothing, absolutely nothing could soothe my heart.  Happiness, with its sparkle and dazzle evaporated like smoke in the air.

Today, I look back on that and grin at the journey.  I have loved again and even lost again.  But along the way, I discovered:

happiness and joy are two very different things

So, while Eros isn’t hovering over my house at the moment, it’s okay, because I am in pursuit of JOY.   Between the two, it is the life-sustaining one.  Joy is also the one that does not live outside of us, but inside.  Therefore, nothing outside can ever take it away.  It is what makes a man behind bars keep smiling, a caged bird sing, an illness lose it’s power, a heartbreak mend.  Joy is that wellspring inside that makes no sense, except to the person who feels it.

It is not from us, and yet it dwells within us, but to find it, our journey must shift its course, our exploration must go inward.

We, like all of creation, were born to rejoice.  Our fibers, our cells, long to sing, to dance, to live!  Children are close to it all the time.  For that reason, they don’t hold resentments.  They cry immediately and laugh within the very next breath.  Adults on the other hand, rarely let it come bursting out.  We shut down, keeping tight close boundaries on our emotions.  The inner critic says, “don’t do that, you’ll look stupid”, “don’t feel that, it’s ridiculous”, & “for God’s sake don’t explore that, it’s a waste of time”.

However, every once in a while, in an inexplicable moment, we bubble over.  Standing in the shower, we burst into song.  Driving down the road, we beat the steering wheel like the drummer in a rock band, shamelessly performing drum fills in the air.  Once in a blue moon, we hop on a trampoline, sit in a swing at the park, fly a kite, or dance down the hall with our weird moves because it makes the kids laugh.

But those moments are few and far between.  We have been taught to contain joy and search for happiness.  I think that’s because happiness, or better yet the promise of it, boost the economy.  So, it’s the job of the world to keep us spinning, thinking we are one purchase away from bliss.  Now days, they’ve even managed to charge for introducing people (hello online dating).

So, here’s my proposal.  Find one thing that causes your joy to burst up out of your body.   Bang pots and pans with your kids, sing louder in the shower, whatever.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  It matters that its free and that it comes from within you.  Let it rip.  Let joy flood your blood stream.  Try it everyday for 30 days and just see if a lot of other stuff doesn’t start falling in to place or falling by the wayside.


—– Tyler Hayes

—– sending you love wherever you are in the world.