"Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain... To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices - today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it." Kevyn Aucoin

I am striving to feel, speak about, and share joy more often. In a world shrouded in darkness, doused in melancholy, and bludgeoned by critique, where is my joy? I have found myself giving voice to the gray when in reality most of my day are spent either mundane, or somewhere just north of contentment. I'm in homeostasis, an equilibrium if you will. I'm existing, and doing quite alright if not pretty well. I've become so used to articulating the moments that feel like less than without giving due process to their relational foils of happiness, joy, and peace. What's the impact? It creates a skewed perspective that is unrealistically monotone instead of bright, warm, and vibrant. I have normalized the everyday but have not made the time to honor the ordinary. My ordinary is great. It's good. It's more than okay. It's worth celebrating. It's worth of acknowledging. It's worth recognizing. When I shift my perspective to focus on the glimmers of light all around me I find that things are radiantly bright more often than I have realized.

I want to celebrate life not just trudge through it. I don't believe life has to be awful or the inherent human experience is malignant. I am categorically opposed to the absolutism of "good vibes only" and reductive positivity culture just as much as I refuse to indulge in perpetual negativity. Authenticity, reality, and gravity - feeling what I feel, responding appropriately, and leaning towards the bright as often as possible. I am giving weight to the heaviness, processing through it as it comes, and letting go of it. I get to feel light instead of carrying lifetimes worth of woes.

I honor it for what it is - not repress, disregard, or ignore it. I simultaneously do not let it compound, take root, or grow to consume me, and my life experience. Life is not I imagine it to be. Life is both what happens, and how I experience it. I'm internalizing what I need to, and externalizing everything else. I carry with me what I need, what I learned, and who I am. I'm authentically fulfilling my lived truth, and doing my best to ensure others around me get to to do the same, at least when they are with me. I validate, interrogate, and contemplate. I have no control over what impacts, but I do get to choose my response. Keeping perspective, rationalizing to minimize, and taking to heart what need to be there lets me live a realistic life with the full spectrum of emotion and experience. When I look for light I will find it, and when I look for darkness - there it is to great me.

Ever since I learned about the concept of appreciative inquiry it has stuck with me as a significant excercise to evaluate the world, or at least my rendition of it. Appreciative inquiry is a way of being and seeing for facilitating positive social change. By identifying a "positive core" and then applying the basic principles of: constructionist, simultaneity, anticipatory, poetic, and poetic - an affirmational way of capitalizing on strengths, talents, and energy is possible. In my day to day life, it's being intentional in language, and not just looking on the proverbial bright side, but taking stock for flow, thriving, and aptitude. It's what is going well contrary to what is going wrong. It's switching from "have to" to "get to" and "dealing with" to "working with." It's "making time" instead of "finding time." It's starting with positives and reframing "negatives" as challenges and potential areas for improvement. It turns life into opportunity as opposed to irreparable opprobrium. There is possibility, space to make change, and room to give myself grace. That's hopeful, kind, and bright. I find peace, prospect, and prosperity in that. 

Being happy for others is a learned practice. Somehow I'm trying to be happy with others and to relish in that joy as they are. This way seems more communal and interpersonal. There's nothing like seeing someone joyful. The way that it erupts across their face. I see in everything about them as they radiate electric energy. It's this rare release of jubilation, exuberance, and pure bliss. I'm leaning into it and matching that energy, feeling it even though it doesn't originate with me, and making myself someone that others can share their joy with who will honor it. I want people to be genuine and to be excited in sharing their happiness, love, and light with me. I will be someone that gives weight to their joy, creates space for it freeflow, and partakes in it so that it has meaning for me too. In a world of jealousy, envy, and yearning bona fide joy does away with the competition and repurposes it as elation. People deserve to be happy and to be unabashed in sharing their happiness AND context matters in doing so, but policing our joy diminishes something that we desperately need to let shine more often. X


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