If joy were a color what would it be? Think about different ideas of the color of joy; is it a playful energetic yellow, or an oh so happy orange – perhaps a calming sky blue? What about the brightness; is it so intensely bright we would need sunglasses, or is it easy on the eyes?
Not to long ago as I was driving, I noticed the sky was filled with a mix of what felt like colors of the rainbow, but it was not as exciting as an actual rainbow. What was interesting to me is that it was not a sunrise or a sunset, I was driving smack in the middle of the day shortly after lunch when I got to see the sight of mixed colors dancing in the sky. I instantly felt good. I did not feel great, but I truly felt good. I had a warm feeling of joy run through me. Many of us are so caught up on chasing happiness that we often miss the joyful moments. The moments that may not be as bright, and exciting, or sparkling with ecstasy as the super happy moments we have. Joyful moments are the more manageable and attainable – small – but still so important in our lives. Joyful moments are what we read about on the plaques found in the home decorating section, or even the dollar store – that read, “enjoy the little things”.
What sometimes gets in the way is that we try forcefully to FIND those little things we are constantly being reminded to appreciate. The funny thing is that they are not moments waiting to be found, moments of joy are always accessible if we chose to see them. The critics in our head often get in the way of noticing what brings us joy. An example happened this summer when I was about to help my daughter out of her car seat. Normally I would be upset and lecture her about taking off her shoes for the millionth time, however, I managed to take a deep breath and bring some of my mindfulness practice to a much needed moment. As I was helping her to put her shoes on, she did the cutest little toe curl before slipping her shoe on. When we get so caught up with those “perfect expectations” we hold for ourselves, and our kids, we miss out on the little moments that add joy in our everyday lives.
Joy is so much more attainable on those days when we just want to feel a little better than the moment we are in, when feeling happy is just so far away we cannot even see the possibility. The more and more I thought about what the color of joy could be, the colors in my mind got even more neutral until I finally ended my thoughts on beige. Some people may think of beige as boring, and this thought crossed my mind too. However with all the stress and distractions in our lives, more and more modern home walls are being painted with shades of beige to create space and calmness in their rooms. Beige is a color so overlooked, yet so important to pulling everything together with ease.
If joy were beige it would hold more space in our minds and our hearts to notice those little special moments. Joy happens when we don’t expect it to, it happens when we are not forcing the feeling. Joy does not cost anything. It is not a new car or a family vacation. Joy is eating a meal as a family, having a soothing shower or bath, applying lotion to our tired bodies with self-care, lighting a candle. To truly understand joy maybe we should write that when we “enjoy” a moment, we are really experiencing joy. When we are in the moment and not allowing our monkey minds to get caught up in thoughts of the past or the future, we are truly enjoying the moment for what it is. Perhaps if we tried to enjoy our kids for who they are now, and our friends and family for who they are now, (yes, flaws and all, and with as little judgement as possible), just maybe we would enjoy our own company and appreciate who we are today, (yes, flaws and all), in this moment. If we can fill ourselves with these tiny moments of joy we become joyful, or full of joy.