Summer of Love. Each week we do something just a little bit different. A small twist on regular life. Last week was choose-your-own-emotional-adventure. Everyone in the family got to author their own experience.
This week you don’t get a choice. I’m telling you what to do. Which may feel like a surprise, since being bossy isn’t my usual Summer of Love style.
I’m not really going to tell you what to do.
But I am going to tell you how to feel.
Yep. Bossy. Because I’ve been watching closely—my friends, my colleagues, my clients—and I’ve seen something recently. We all need a bit (or a lot) more Joy.
Joy holds a unique space in our emotional experience. It’s lighter than happy, more carefree than content. It is the surprise emotion that sneaks up inside of you, bubbles out, and then floats away.
Joy tends to be coy. At least for adults. For us she hides in plain sight. She’s there during the most boring times. And especially during the most painful times. But as we grow up, we forget what she looks like. We don’t recognize her invitation to play.
Joy shows up when we suddenly realize the burden we’ve been carrying belongs to someone else entirely.
Joy arrives when we see a task we thought would be filled with drudgery is surprisingly bright.
Joy reveals herself when we drink a soda too fast and it fizzes out our nose and everyone in the room laughs and laughs and laughs. And laughs.
Remember her now?
I thought so.
This week, we’re going on a joy hunt. Watch for her. Lift up heavy rocks, look in dark corners. The places you think are the least likely for her to be? That’s where you’ll find her.
Still need help? Follow your kids. Observe them from an anthropologist’s perspective—watching the customs of a different culture. See that? There joy is. Our child’s constant companion.
Wait. What? Constant? You’re thinking I haven’t seen your kids lately. I’m not saying our kiddos are always joyful, or joy-filled. (I mean, let’s be real, remember what happened the day before yesterday at your house? I certainly remember what happened at mine.) Joy isn’t always on–but she is always there.
Joy is an emotional firefly—patiently waiting to shine.
So this week, hunt for joy. Relentlessly. Make it a family event. Have everyone looking for her. Find her, but don’t try to trap her. The magic of a firefly isn’t felt when we capture it in a jar. The magic happens when we see the momentary flash. And then trust impatiently it will appear again.
Joy. She’s out there. She’s right next to you. She’s within you. Enjoy her. Here’s to your Summer of Love.
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p.p.s.s. worried you missed a little joy? Here’s week 1 summer of love.