I always find some joy in finely raking the area around the horses’ water buckets, and making it into a beautiful, soft, cedar rest carpet. Even when I’m feeling a little funky, this small act of honor brings me joy.
One day as I raked, Skye Mama ventured over to take a drink and, as I watched her carefully dip her lips into the cool clear water, I felt her energy and a wave of thought: “everyone’s capacity to heal is as deep as the ocean.” I stood with her in silence and thought about that message, letting it pass through me from my head to my feet. As we stood in stillness together, the world fell away and I experienced a sense of buoyant weightlessness, as though I was floating on the surface of a calm ocean, fully supported and held in an endless moment of peace. I felt nurtured and lifted by Skye Mama’s powerful message. A few tears of release opened up a sense of delight, and I went happily on my way for the day.
That moment presented itself to me as a “joy bit” – a beautiful moment of emotional sustenance at a time when I needed it; a reminder that the flip side of storms and destruction is a deep ocean of peace and calm.
We have all met people in our lives who have endured tragedy and have suffered, but who seem to carry themselves through life with an enviable ease and grace. How are they able to carry their loss and still find happiness or peace? I think it is increasingly important to understand how to access more of the kind of tranquility and energetic support we need in times when we are feeling sad, or hurt, or lonely. How do we find joy in the face of tragedy and devastation.
Contemplating this brought me back to a time my husband and I traveled to Bali. Bali is absolutely beautiful but may seem hopelessly impoverished to the western eye. However, the Balinese people choose joy and actively seek out spiritual beauty in their walk of life. Each day as we ventured out, we would see small baskets made of woven coconut leaves containing offerings of flowers, bits of food, and spare change. These baskets are called Canang sari and may be found all over the island, in small house shrines, in village temples, even in shops. Canang sari are offered every morning by devout Balinese to show gratitude to the Creator (Sang Hyang Widi Wasa). Canang sari require a bit of effort to create, which adds meaning to the sacrifice being made, and encourages the maker to be mindful of the thankfulness being expressed. Even the temple monkeys take time to enjoy these baskets of gratitude. I feel that the creative focus that goes into making Canang sari probably allows the maker to access that divine peace or a moment of joy in the midst of life’s hustle and chaos.
Perhaps if we start our day spending some time to create or just simply to think of joyful things, this would help soften and lighten our load. I like the term “joy bits”. Perhaps our suffering and sadness can be lifted a little by reminding ourselves of what brings us joy, and what we have gratitude for. Establishing a ritual of thanks and creation may be an important key to bringing these happy nuggets into our lives. Mama gave me a bit of joy out by the water trough, wrapped in a moment of profound wisdom.
It is quite possible that the people who seem to endure so well under hardship and tragedy have found a way to access their “joy bits” to help lift and buoy them until the waters of tribulation recede and they can find their feet on dry land.
I wish all of you who are suffering, struggling, and supporting others right now the chance to rest, so you don’t quit. I wish you the opportunity to find or create a “joy bit” to help sustain you through your day. It can be as simple as writing a few words down that make you happy, sitting with your journal and drawing a flower, pulling a daily affirmation card, offering a prayer, or holding the hand of another – anything that gives you a moment to connect with love.
Moving forward, take the time to make this a part of your day…and in that place of creation you will fill yourself with bits of joy – perhaps eventually, these “joy bits” might even replace the bits of sadness we’ve accumulated, and allow ourselves to float on that deep, calm ocean of healing Skye Mama showed me out by the water trough.
How will you find your “joy bits” today?
Vivian, Skye Mama and Luca