While this is my 2nd post related to Joy, I believe this is an era where repetition of a healthy life prescription is valuable. So, here are a few more thoughts on the healing and essential role of Joy in our lives:

If we pay attention and are present, the Universe is constantly providing us with hints and guidance and inspiration—if we just take the time to notice. Sometimes the messages are so important that they are repeated—just so we have a chance to catch the divine content.  These messages are not trivial (like where to look for a parking place) but are of a content and meaning that can fundamentally help us live a meaningful life.  On the REALLY big ones—this guidance is a calling.  On the smaller ones, it might be called nudges.

One of my nudges has been the role of Joy in living a meaningful life. The first nudge was Rosemary B-McN’s sermon at our 150th celebration in December.  One of her 7 Tips for surviving this political/social era was “Find Joy.”  She shared with us that her trip to Santa Cruz reminded her of feeling joyful—because it had been absent since the election.

Another of my nudges was when someone I know co-wrote a book. Some of you know I’ve talked a lot about the new book “The Book of Joy” by Bishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama and my friend.  I read this book on vacation in January.  These two icons of social justice and compassion shared their views of what joy is and the role it has in life.  Joy is not sensual happiness, but something achieved after becoming a wise sage of life.  This book’s messages moved me so deeply that I arranged for 3 Sunday services on Joy.

It is easy to be immersed with the angst and complexities in this current era. There are a thousand reasons to be upset and angry.  There are a million things to do for ourselves and to try to heal the brokenness of the world.  It can be overwhelming.  In our efforts to respond, resist, and react to the destructive behaviors around us—it is easy to forget about Joy.  While Joy cannot be sole focus of your life (indeed it should not be), it cannot be absent.  Without Joy, a life will spin out of balance.  And that’s what it is about, really—balance.  We need to balance our concerns, our actions, our compassions, our involvements with Joy—otherwise we’re swimming in a pond of despair never reaching the shore.

The Universe has nudged me for months on the necessity of Joy—and I’m preaching it, researching it, giving it away every chance, and trying to find it everywhere.  I’m convinced that this is essential for me, for you, and for all of us.

We only get one chance at life, and it’d be a shame not to make the best of it.………May it be so………………Russ