After posting about positivity the other day, I went into a yoga class themed around joy. We read a passage about joy from Barbara Kingsolver, and then Keith, the teacher, talked about how joy is a skill. We practiced the skill in yoga by attempting to notice three things in 90 minutes that we thought glorious. At the end of the class we shared those “finds” with each other.
Another thing we did in class to discover joy was partner assists in different poses. We gave our partner a quick massage, but before we began, we silently said to ourselves, “I come in peace.” We also briefly meditated across from our partner, and were encouraged to notice something beautiful about them.
Once I got going, I noticed a lot of glorious things: the rich tones of Keith’s “om,” the clean wooden floor, the red curls of a woman named Anna, my own ability to put my foot in my hand and extend my leg (almost) all the way out, the excitement of discussing Kingsolver’s books with my classmates before we left to go home, and the beautiful skin of my partner.
Here is the Kingsolver passage, from High Tide in Tucson: Essays From Now or Never:
In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: a perfect outline of a dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with life again, like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.
I try to shut off the part of my mind that objects to the corniness of this passage and the practices in yoga, and keep looking for the joy. And as I sit down to my computer to start work for the day, I try to say I come in peace.