In my last blog I spoke about this quote: “Joy is not the absence of pain, it’s the presence of God.”
And I also spoke about how I feel about the label “God.” (Check it out here).
I shared that post first, to give background to relate my next piece of truth.
To revisit that quote, it was as follows: “Joy is not the absence of pain, it’s the presence of God.”
Based on my previous post, let’s get creative.
Let’s use Universe instead of God.
Reframe: “Joy is not the absence of pain, it’s presence with the Universe.”
If we are part of the Universe, then maybe this is also true:
“Joy is not the absence of pain and suffering, it is presence with self.”
Now drawing from my life experience, this feels deeply true:
Joy is not the absence of pain and suffering,
it is deep presence and honoring of your present moment.
Does that resonate?
What about this:
Joy is the Awareness of Belonging.
For me, Joy has been found, not in the absence of pain, but in the deep presence with the truth of my experience in the moment.
Some of my most joyful moments have been during the deepest sadness of my life.
When I look back across a life, I can see moments of jubilant joy, and moments of earth shaking pain.
And in their commonality, under both emotions, is the deep felt connection to the present moment those experiences existed in.
To be truly present with joy, to be truly present with pain, is to be truly present with what is.
To be deeply present with what is, is joy-full.
In those moments, there was deep deep presence with exactly what was. And that drew upon a feeling of a deep connection to….the Universe.
I’m a part of that Universe. So are you.
I belong. So do you.
That awareness anchors us to what’s already within us.
Deep emotions and experiences can remind us of that truth.
I remember when my dad passed, it was somewhat of a relief to know that he had acquiesced into peace….finally.
I remember standing next to the remnants of who he had been.
A mere shell, that he had inhabited.
I remember squeezing what had been his arm.
I remember it was cold, hard, gaunt – no longer him.
I was so thankful for the solitude in that moment.
To fully embrace where I was, with no watching eyes.
And in that moment, finality sunk in,
I was deeply present in that very moment with exactly what was – the very real, very obvious, very certain truth, that my Dad was no longer on this Earth.
The feelings that surface with such a moment, are nothing short of wrenching, painful, and I felt it all. I allowed it to wash over me.
If I had desired that moment to be any other way, I would have missed that moment for exactly what it was.
My final goodbye.
If I had wished it to be different, or thought it unfair, it would have placed me in another timeline, an alternate reality. I’d be living with what “should have been” and not that which was. I would have not been in the present moment, where his cold, hard body lay upon a table in front of me.
I would have cheated my self out of that final moment.
These are the games we play to avoid what is.
And I’m not sure whether it was the extended nature of his decline, my relief that he found peace, or the sheer gravity of the moment, but I was TRULY THERE.
I was truly and deeply present with the pain of the very real and present moment.
And that connection to my pain, that connection to presence, that connection to the universe was deeply connected to joy.
Here I am. I am in pain. This is incredibly sad. I’m sorry. I miss you. I love you. Goodbye.
My dad’s illness, and the pain that came along with that journey, was a tremendous exercise in being present with the pain I was experiencing.
And when I reflect back those moments are some of the most connected moments of my life.
They are moments that echo across time, and anchored me to my very real existence in the moment,
And they also anchor me to the very present reality of the divine nature of this human experience.
Joy is the present experience of my connection to the Universe.
Whatever that present experience may be.