As our dialogue progressed, we converged on eight pillars of joy. Four were qualities of the mind: perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance. Four were qualities of the heart: forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity. — Douglas Carlton Abrams, The Book of Joy
SONGS about JOY:
- Joy to the World by Pentatonix (acapella Christmas carol): https://youtu.be/-Xo64Q2ucQ8
- Joy by King & Country (country/pop/Christian): https://youtu.be/lA7n7TwPDmw
- Joy to the World (Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog) by Three Dog Night (rock): https://youtu.be/kyI1OImD7ow
- Song of Joy by Julio Iglesias (anthem): https://youtu.be/5ZYPA8BIvSQ
- Joy of my Life by Chris Stapleton (country): https://youtu.be/jsE_zp_4vyo
- Come On Get Higher by Matt Nathanson (folk rock): https://youtu.be/aHx4BlF6V2o
- You Make Me Feel Like Dancing by Leo Sayer (rock): https://youtu.be/HhSjwU8gEsI
- Kuai Le by Yo-Yo Ma from Songs of Peace & Joy (instrumental violin): https://youtu.be/m9ciLW54_B8
- I’ve Got that Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart (children’s music): https://youtu.be/giPa9kih2so
- Invitacion al Danzon by Yo-Yo Ma from Songs of Peace & Joy (instrumental violin): https://youtu.be/6xt41xBGFx4
- Joy by Bastille (pop): https://youtu.be/miy6aK6btgU
- I Got You (I Feel Good) by James Brown (rock): https://youtu.be/Lrv-Morm-c0
- Joy to the World by Whitney Houston (Christmas carol): https://youtu.be/NHhA-R0netY
- Happy by Pharrell Williams (pop): https://youtu.be/y6Sxv-sUYtM
- Two Kinds of Happiness by Two Strokes (rock): https://youtu.be/6ux2GZ1OF3w
- Night & Day by Baha Men (rock/reggae): https://youtu.be/mXlzHjubkXg
- Mr Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra (rock): https://youtu.be/aQUlA8Hcv4s
- Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now by McFadden & Whitehead (rock/disco): https://youtu.be/i2FW1WJc0lg
- Joy by VaShawn Mitchell (Christian): https://youtu.be/Yl5lKSTtPR8
- Joy by Rend Collective (Christian): https://youtu.be/VDiETOLBvxA
- Unspeakable Joy by Chris Tomlin (Christian carol): https://youtu.be/tC3SwhJsLqU
- If You Wanna Be Happy by Jimmy Soul (rock): https://youtu.be/Qh9ZZgDqzAg
Joy Unspeakable — Barbara Holmes
erupts when you least expect it,
when the burden is greatest,
when the hope is gone
after bullets fly.
on the crest of impossibility,
it sways to the rhythm
of steadfast hearts,
what we cannot see.
For Joy – Jan Richardson
You can prepare
but still it will come to you
crossing through your doorway
calling your name in greeting
turning like a child
who quickens suddenly within you
it will astonish you
how wide your heart
will open in welcome
for the joy that finds you
so ready and still
ARTICLES & VIDEOS about CULTIVATING JOY:
- Sparking Joy: Mindfulness Practice from Mindful:https://www.mindful.org/sparking-joy-a-mindfulness-practice-for-everyday/
How to Find Joy Today, and Every Day from Oprah Daily: https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/health/a32957825/how-to-find-joy/
- How To Find Joy in your Everyday Life by Prevention: https://www.prevention.com/health/mental-health/g33002023/how-to-find-joy/
- Finding Your Joy by Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindful-anger/202102/finding-your-joy
- Forget Happiness, Pursue Joy by Goop:https://goop.com/wellness/mindfulness/forget-happiness-pursue-joy/
- Finding Joy During Difficult Times by HelpGuide: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/finding-joy-during-difficult-times.htm
- How to Find Joy in Life During Difficult Times from Lifehack: https://www.lifehack.org/886752/finding-joy-in-life
- Nourishing Joy and Happiness teaching video from Thich Nhat Hanh: https://youtu.be/_KsQsmzm-ys
- Smile / Release teaching video from Thich Nhat Hanh: https://youtu.be/t3RkhdU9Thc
JOY — Maurine Smith
Joy, joy, run over me,
Like water running over a shining stone;
And I beneath your sweet shall be
No longer hungry and alone.
The light at my heart’s gate is lit—
My love, my love, is tending it!
Joy Unspeakable — Barbara Holmes
is not silent,
it moans, hums, and bends
to the rhythm of a dancing universe.
It is a fractal of transcendent hope,
a hologram of God’s heart,
a black hole of unknowing.
For our free African ancestors,
joy unspeakable is drum talk
that invites the spirits
to dance with us,
and tell tall tales by the fire.
For the desert Mothers and Fathers,
joy unspeakable is respite
from the maddening crowds,
And freedom from
“church” as usual.
For enslaved Africans during the
joy unspeakable is the surprise
of living one more day,
and the freeing embrace of death
chosen and imposed.
For Africans in bondage
in the Americas,
joy unspeakable is that moment of
when God tiptoes into the hush arbor,
testifies about Divine suffering,
and whispers in our ears,
I taught you how to fly
on a wing and a prayer,
when you’re ready
Joy Unspeakable is humming
“how I got over”
after swimming safely
to the other shore of a swollen Ohio river
when you know that you can’t swim.
It is the blessed assurance
that Canada is far,
but not that far.
For Africana members of the
“invisible institution,” the
emerging black church,
joy unspeakable is
while chains still chafe,
while Jim Crow stalks,
trusting God’s healing
and home remedies,
and cow patty tea.
For the tap dancing, boogie woogie,
who also hear God,
joy unspeakable is
that space/time/joy continuum thing
that dares us to play and pray
in the interstices of life,
it is the belief that the phrase
“the art of living”
means exactly what it says.
both FIRE AND CLOUD,
the unlikely merger of
trance and high tech lives
ecstatic songs and a jazz repertoire
Joy unspeakable is
a symphony of incongruities
of faces aglow and hearts
and the wonder of surviving together.
8 PILLARS of JOY
(summarized from the Book of Joy)
Full article: https://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/the-eight-pillars-of-joy.aspx
… 4 are qualities of the spirit, and 4 are qualities of the heart.
“For every event in life,” says the Dali Lama, “there are many different angles.” There is, perhaps, no greater route to joy than this. Taking a “God’s-eye perspective,” as Archbishop Tutu says, allows for the birth of empathy—the trait that creates joy not only in the one, but in the many. Empathy opens the door to togetherness, and keeps us from building walls around our individual selves—walls that keep out so many potential friends and allies. Realizing and accepting the validity of different perspectives turns “I” in to “we”...
… to be able to truly appreciate the people around them as equals. When we foster humility within ourselves, we find it easier to be open to the opinions of others, and to realize our own limitations. Without being open in this way, learning and growth stop—both of which are components of a happy life …
… the special ability to laugh, not only at life’s troubles, but at themselves and their very human foibles. … Humor that does not mock or belittle brings us closer together, and can diffuse tense situations. Humor shows us our shared ridiculousness … our common humanity … studies on humor are beginning to show that laughter boosts the immune system, relaxes the body, and protects the heart by lowering stress hormones which cause destructive inflammation.
… the ability to accept our life in all its pain, imperfection, and beauty … It is not resignation. It is not defeat. It is accepting that we must necessarily pass through the storm. It is facing suffering and asking the question, “How can we use this as something positive?” Acceptance allows us to engage life on its own terms rather than wishing, in vain, that things were different. It enables us to change and adapt, rather than becoming mired in denial, despair, and anxiety.
Holding on to grievances is our way of wishing the past could be different. When we hang on to those negative emotions, that anger and grief and the desire for vengeance, we only hurt ourselves. And if we use those emotions to strike back and cause harm, we only invite a cycle of retribution… Forgiveness does not mean that we forget… Justice should still be sought, and the perpetrator, punished. Justice can be served without anger, without hatred, and once it is served, we must let go. Until we forgive a person that has wronged us, we allow that person to hold power over us—they effectively control our emotions.
Gratitude … is the recognition of all that holds us in the web of life and all that has made it possible to have the life that we have and the moment that we are experiencing. It allows us to shift our focus from what we lack to what we have. If acceptance is not fighting reality, gratitude means embracing it, counting blessings rather than burdens… Gratitude also connects us to others. When we are truly grateful, we remember all of those who help make our happiness possible, who bring goodness into our lives. We, then, are able to recognize those people, and enjoy them and their differences.
Compassion is a sense of concern that arises when we see others suffer, and wish to see that suffering relieved. It is the bridge between empathy and kindness. A large part of being compassionate is realizing our shared humanity. … when we think of alleviating other people’s suffering, our own suffering is reduced. … Compassion should be extended to the self, as well.
Giving to others does not truly subtract from ourselves, but adds to us. … money can buy happiness, if we spend it on other people. People who give experience greater long-term life satisfaction, whether that giving is large or small… Strive to attain a generous spirit, made possible by acknowledging that you are merely a steward of your wealth, possessions, and power …
Candle of Joy —Maren Tirabassi
This old woman who cannot see well
has smeared pink lipstick
around her lips
to dress up for church.
A child, sixteen months or so,
too young to be greedy yet,
hugs a large pink balloon.
It doesn’t matter he’s a boy;
it doesn’t matter where
on the spectrum that is gender
he will grow up
to find himself, his joy.
A teenager with magenta hair,
pierced eyebrows, jean jacket over
the tilt of shoulder
which means something like –
love me, don’t love me,
stands nervous, defiant,
in the chancel
puts flame to the pink candle.
There are many more cosmic
to this season of Advent.
Through the centuries
volumes of theology
have been written
on the doctrine of Incarnation …
but always the joy is particular.
I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. – Tagore
We are fragile creatures, and it is from this weakness, not despite it,
that we discover the possibility of true joy.― Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy
The beating heart of the universe is holy joy. — Martin Buber
We have God’s joy in our blood. — Frederick Buechner
To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with. – Mark Twain
The three factors that seem to have the greatest influence on increasing our happiness are our ability to reframe our situation more positively, our ability to experience gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous. — Dalai Lama
When you are grateful, you are not fearful, and when you are not fearful, you are not violent. When you are grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people and respectful to all people. The grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people. A grateful world is a happy world. — Brother Steindl-Rast
What is Joy?… While happiness is temporary and is based upon happenings, joy is from the Lord and you can still experience joy during trials, suffering, and testing. Joy is permanent but happiness is fleeting. —Jack Wellman, Patheos.org
From joy I came,
For joy I live,
and in Thy sacred joy
I shall melt again.
— Paramahamsa Yogananda
STRUGGLES, SUFFERING & JOY: Sometimes It’s Hard to Access Joy
Discovering more joy does not, I’m sorry to say, save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily, too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken. — Archbishop Desmond Tutu
People often confuse joy with happiness, but they are not interchangeable. Joy is from within, regardless of what is going on around you. Happiness can be a blurred emotion, dependent on a situation. Joyful people make a commitment to gratitude regardless of the circumstances. In Greek, the word for joy is ‘chara.’ This describes a feeling of inner gladness, delight or rejoicing. This inner gladness leads to a cheerful heart and a cheerful heart leads to cheerful behavior. The most important attribute of joy is that you can find joy in adversity. — Kelly Wise Valdes
Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities. — Fred Rogers
We create most of our suffering, so it should be logical that we also have the ability to create more joy. It simply depends on the attitudes, the perspectives, and the reactions we bring to situations and to our relationships with other people. When it comes to personal happiness there is a lot that we as individuals can do. — Dalai Lama
The Third Sunday of Advent is … the day to light the pink candle. It is not without reason that this Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday, a Sunday when the readings, the music, the church decorations, and even the pink candle are supposed to be gaudy. It’s supposed to be a party, a day of joy … If only we could.Are we even allowed to light the pink candle and be gaudy … when we have endured…accounts of violence worldwide… horrors … immediately … politicized… We are not joyful. We are not even pretending to be. We have had enough … But what do we say—indeed, what can we say? …
…. Does John give the … sermon … that God weeps with the wretched of the earth but really has nothing better to do than to cry with you as you are terrorized? In the midst of such colonization, terror, and violence, John’s answer is a call to radical hospitality … John says, we open our doors wider.
These acts of joy run counter to our feelings of horror, despair, anger, and rage … He is coming, John says, but as we look forward to his return, he isn’t back yet. So yes, we should grieve at this present darkness. … Yes, we should have no words to say to explain the horror. Yes, do be angry, rage at the senselessness. But as the people of God, in our sorrow and in our anger, in our disbelief at the level of injustice … we also defy … we declare with our actions that this is indeed a time to act, but with the radical acts of hospitality, to let our rejoicing not be empty words, but shocking deeds of expansive welcome to the stranger, solidarity with the hungry and the naked … we rejoice defiantly by flinging open our hearts and our doors to welcome the stranger and love our neighbour. — Chinglican at Table
SONGS for VETERANS DAY (patriotic & critiques, plus songs from different veteran and veterans’ family experiences):
- Paradise by Craig Morgan (country): https://youtu.be/f8tn020YucU
- Just Came Home by Darryl Worley (country): https://youtu.be/KwpO8Q1u4Ss
- Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen (rock): https://youtu.be/EPhWR4d3FJQ
- America by Neil Diamond (rock/pop): https://youtu.be/wTSLRbm8L9E
- Dear Uncle Sam by Loretta Lynn (countrry): https://youtu.be/ZwOhZufXYso
- Letters from Home by John Michael Montgomery (country): https://youtu.be/FIG9C3n-SPc
- Live Like a Warrior by Matisyahu (Jewish pop/rap): https://youtu.be/p53pDNodxHE
- Made in America by Kanye West, Jay-Z & Frank Ocean (rap): https://youtu.be/HWaboD46fTg
- God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood (country): https://youtu.be/-KoXt9pZLGM
- American Soldier by Toby Keith (country): https://youtu.be/DWrMeBR8W-c
- Soldier by Michael Dion (pop + /civil rights sampling): https://youtu.be/wcfYMLCW_b0
- Living in America by James Brown (rock): https://youtu.be/c5BL4RNFr58
- America by Simon & Garfunkel (folk): https://youtu.be/Eo2ZsAOlvEM
- Ragged Od Flag by Johnny Cash (country): https://youtu.be/XfzJ8UBr-c0
- Pink Houses by John Mellencamp (country): https://youtu.be/qOfkpu6749w
- ‘Merican by Descendants (punk rock): https://youtu.be/WLkRxVYdUko
- Still a Soldier by Trace Adkins (country): https://youtu.be/2WA10dETkF8
- Blowin in the Wind by Bob Dylan (folk rock): https://youtu.be/MMFj8uDubsE
- Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix (rock version): https://youtu.be/sjzZh6-h9fM
- I Still Believe by Tussing Elementary (childrens song): https://youtu.be/c8mAfn5iDjI
- On Veterans Day by Karl Hitzemann (childrens song): https://youtu.be/sit5ljSVD6k
- American by Lana Del Rey (country): https://youtu.be/D7agM5nWJJI
Excerpt from Second Inaugural Address — Abraham Lincoln
… public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation … Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully … With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Justice for Veterans and the Vulnerable: A Veterans Day Reflection (excerpt) — Bruce Epperly
… Instituted in gratitude for victory in World War I, Woodrow Wilson made the following affirmation regarding Armistice Day, the precursor to Veterans Day: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
While such words can be seen as platitudes, they remind us that “peace” and “justice” should be the goal of all national policies. They also remind us, in a time of growing individualism and me-first politics and economics, that national health depends on sacrifice — not just in times of war, but in our civic responsibility, human rights, and tax paying. Ironically, some of the people who most vigorously wave our flag are the most self-interested when it comes to our nation’s responsibility to support its most vulnerable citizens.
Veterans Day is about gratitude and stewardship. On Veterans Day, we proclaim our gratitude to those whose service in the military has secured our freedoms through the years. Whether or not we approve of our nation’s foreign policy, we need to support the everyday people — mostly working class, often minority — who fight our nation’s wars. We need to say “thank you.” But our thanksgiving should lead to action, both in support of the well-being of veterans, especially those who have been injured or traumatized by war, and in our own commitment to the common good and our nation’s care for its most vulnerable citizens, those for whom our soldiers sacrifice.
It is easy, as the prophets and Jesus both noted, to speak of sacrifice, without making the commitment to sacrifice for the well-being of our neighbors. When Veterans Day is understood in the spirit of the biblical tradition, it reminds us that there is no such thing as rugged individualism or absolute property rights; everything is a gift from God to be used for the well-being of others as well as our own kin. Sacrifice is not just the responsibility of veterans; it is required of all who would follow the way of Jesus. In the spirit of Wilson’s proclamation, justice and peace should guide our national and personal decision-making. Accordingly, remembrance of the sacrifices made by veterans challenges us to ask: Do our actions promote the overall well-being of our nation’s peoples and this good earth? Do we focus on our own welfare to the exclusion of our neighbor? What are we willing to sacrifice so that others may live abundantly? God’s vision of abundant life is always about “us” as well as “mine.”
So, on Veterans Day, let us be grateful and let our gratitude inspire us to generosity and commitment to the well-being of our nation, most especially its most vulnerable citizens and veterans who suffer the ravages of war. Then, our love of nation will take us beyond nationalism or self-interest to the affirmation of our role as God’s partners in healing the earth. ###
The Veteran — Dorothy Parker
When I was young and bold and strong,
Oh, right was right, and wrong was wrong!
My plume on high, my flag unfurled,
I rode away to right the world.
“Come out, you dogs, and fight!” said I,
And wept there was but once to die.
But I am old; and good and bad
Are woven in a crazy plaid.
I sit and stay, “The world is so;
And he is wise who lets it go.
A battle lost, a battle won—
The difference is small, my son.”
Inertia rides and riddles me;
The which is called Philosophy.
To a Soldier in Hospital – Winifred M. Letts
Courage came to you with your boyhood’s grace
Of ardent life and limb.
Each day new dangers steeled you to the test,
To ride, to climb, to swim.
Your hot blood taught you carelessness of death
With every breath.
So when you went to play another game
You could not but be brave:
An Empire’s team, a rougher football field,
The end—perhaps your grave.
What matter? On the winning of a goal
You staked your soul.
Yes, you wore courage as you wore your youth
With carelessness and joy.
But in what Spartan school of discipline
Did you get patience, boy?
How did you learn to bear this long-drawn pain
And not complain?
Restless with throbbing hopes, with thwarted aims,
Impulsive as a colt,
How do you lie here month by weary month
Helpless, and not revolt?
What joy can these monotonous days afford
Here in a ward?
Yet you are merry as the birds in spring,
Or feign the gaiety,
Lest those who dress and tend your wound each day
Should guess the agony.
Lest they should suffer—this the only fear
You let draw near.
Greybeard philosophy has sought in books
And argument this truth,
That man is greater than his pain, but you
Have learnt it in your youth.
You know the wisdom taught by Calvary
Death would have found you brave, but braver still
You face each lagging day,
A merry Stoic, patient, chivalrous,
Divinely kind and gay.
You bear your knowledge lightly, graduate
Of unkind Fate.
Careless philosopher, the first to laugh,
The latest to complain.
Unmindful that you teach, you taught me this
In your long fight with pain:
Since God made man so good—here stands my creed—
God’s good indeed.
What Governments Say to Women (excerpt) — Alice Duer Miller
I. In Time of War
Help us. Your country needs you;
Show that you love her,
Give her your men to fight,
Ay, even to fall;
The fair, free land of your birth,
Set nothing above her,
Not husband nor son,
She must come first of all…
Not to Keep — Robert Frost
They sent him back to her. The letter came
Saying… and she could have him. And before
She could be sure there was no hidden ill
Under the formal writing, he was in her sight—
Living.— They gave him back to her alive—
How else? They are not known to send the dead—
And not disfigured visibly. His face?—
His hands? She had to look—to ask,
“What was it, dear?” And she had given all
And still she had all—they had—they the lucky!
Wasn’t she glad now? Everything seemed won,
And all the rest for them permissible ease.
She had to ask, “What was it, dear?”
Yet not enough. A bullet through and through,
High in the breast. Nothing but what good care
And medicine and rest—and you a week,
Can cure me of to go again.” The same
Grim giving to do over for them both.
She dared no more than ask him with her eyes
How was it with him for a second trial.
And with his eyes he asked her not to ask.
They had given him back to her, but not to keep.
Thanks — Yusef Komunyakaa
Thanks for the tree
between me & a sniper’s bullet.
I don’t know what made the grass
sway seconds before the Viet Cong
raised his soundless rifle.
Some voice always followed,
telling me which foot
to put down first.
Thanks for deflecting the ricochet
against that anarchy of dusk.
I was back in San Francisco
wrapped up in a woman’s wild colors,
causing some dark bird’s love call
to be shattered by daylight
when my hands reached up
& pulled a branch away
from my face. Thanks
for the vague white flower
that pointed to the gleaming metal
reflecting how it is to be broken
like mist over the grass,
as we played some deadly
game for blind gods.
What made me spot the monarch
writhing on a single thread
tied to a farmer’s gate,
holding the day together
like an unfingered guitar string,
is beyond me. Maybe the hills
grew weary & leaned a little in the heat.
Again, thanks for the dud
hand grenade tossed at my feet
outside Chu Lai. I’m still
falling through its silence.
I don’t know why the intrepid
sun touched the bayonet,
but I know that something
stood among those lost trees
& moved only when I moved.
Battleground (excerpt) — William Trowbridge
It showed the War was as my father said:
boredom flanked by terror, a matter of keeping
low and not freezing. “You wore your helmet
square,” he said, not “at some stupid angle,
like that draft-dodger Wayne,” who died
so photogenically in The Sands of Iwa Jima ….