Inspiring Ordinary Joy: What does it mean and why does it matter?

Joy

What is joy?  Like many words we use commonly, we know the meaning, but trying to explain the meaning can sometimes get tricky.  As a noun, joy can be “the emotion of great delight or happiness”, “a source of great delight”, or “a state of happiness or felicity”. (www.dictionary.com)

It is this state of happiness that I am seeking to inspire.

Ordinary

Something ordinary is commonplace.  Unexceptional, plain and undistinguished.   It seems to me that we spend much of our time and energy in pursuit of the extraordinary, the exceptional, the special and the noteworthy.  And it manifests in seeking out, what I term, big joy.

Big joy is wonderful.  It is the great stuff of life.  Weddings, births, graduations, new jobs, new loves, vacations, opening nights, book publications, promotions, winning races, dreams coming true.  Happiness and good feelings come from big joy.  I have nothing against big joy per se, I just know that there is danger with big joy.  It can inadvertently shut out ordinary joy.

Ordinary joys are hidden amongst the day to day grind of our modern lives.  It’s these moments of truth and connection, often poignant, often unnoticed, that I am interested in.  Seeking, finding and cherishing these moments will, I believe, enrich your life.

There is rejoicing to be had in the noticing of these moments.  The patience of a driver in peak hour traffic letting another driver into the turning lane without getting frustrated, the kindness of a young man running after an older man in the airport to return his dropped boarding pass, the courage of a young girl at the playground approaching a group of unknown children and asking to join in, the pride of the airport shuttle bus driver as he gives you and other travelers the red carpet treatment while transporting you from the terminal to the car rental place, the love of friends sharing photographs of their meal prepared together on Instagram, the satisfaction of having exercised after your 5km morning run, the connection you feel to a young teenager on television in pursuit of their dream to be a singer.

It’s from these ordinary joys that contentment, peace and a state of happiness flows.

So why does it matter?

Firstly, and simply, it feels good to feel good.  Feeling good is an innate human need.  We all move easily to what makes us feel happy and satisfied, and we learn from a young age to avoid things that make us feel bad.  It is the basis of all human psychology, philosophy and behavioral science.  But to what end feeling good?

Secondly, when we feel good, when we are in a state of happiness, we are at our best, and when we our at our best, we make our greatest contribution.  Without meaning to get too philosophical (as I will be quickly out of my depth!); is there no finer purpose for our existence than to serve the world we live in – humanity, nature and the cosmos – in whatever way that makes sense for each of us?

What do I hope to achieve with Magenta Blues by inspiring ordinary joy?

It seems to me that many of us are caught up in very busy lives.  We live in a time where our world is moving faster and faster.  Expectations we have of ourselves seem to be ever increasing.  This combination of greater expectations with the pace of our lives is leading to more of us experiencing anxious and ‘stressed out’ mindsets versus joyful ones.

I know I am not alone in my quest for less stress and more joy.  In my personal pursuit for balance, peace and contentment, I have learned that seeking, finding and cherishing joy in the ordinary encourages gratitude, resilience and indeed promotes a state of happiness.

For those of my generation, moving into the next phase of adulthood, mid-lifers, mid-careerers, middle managers, empty-nesters, mid-forty ‘whateverers’, I hope to make you smile, and sometimes laugh, with my offerings.  For those of you in your twenties, and early thirties, I hope to offer some wisdom, compassion and understanding as you journey through the next phase of your lives.  And lastly, for anyone who has suffered or is suffering through loss, loneliness, anxiety or depression, I hope to shine some light for you to grab on to as you journey through your recovery to find your own state of happiness.

And so, with the Magenta Blues blogs, I will inspire my own and others’ ordinary joy by sharing stories and ideas that connect us to our own lives, and by doing so, to one another.

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