There has been a crushing amount of loss these past weeks. Some very personal, like the death of my mother-in-law after a two-year journey with cancer. Others tearing through our larger community, like the heart-wrenching tragedies in El Paso, Dayton, and Gilroy.
We plan a memorial service, sob in the privacy of our bedrooms, join our local gun-safety movements, rise up in righteous anger, hug our loved ones close, worry about our children’s future.
Is there room for living in the midst of so much suffering? How can we feel joy in times like this? Or maybe the question is: How can we not?
The Yoga of Joy
Writer and professor Ross Gay explores this in a recent On Being podcast, “Tending Joy and Practicing Delight.” He discusses a misconception about joy, that people think it’s easy. In truth, it has nothing to do with ease. Instead, it’s “a labor that will make the life that [we] want possible,” even in the face of great difficulty.
With a practice of joy, Gay shares, there are moments when alienation from people and wholeness disappears.
In other words, joy softens the illusion of separateness. Joy-ness can join us. This joining, this remembering…this is yoga. And it feels so important, urgent even, as we suffer in our individual and collective human lives.