Choices. We make choices every single moment. Just by being, we make choices. I was reading recently and came upon this quote from Henri Nouwen: “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” Intellectually and spiritually I understand what Nouwen is saying, but I started to have other thoughts around both the issue of choices and joy.
We do make choices every moment, but our choices are not always based on our intellectual control of our being. We make choices based on many things: experience, circumstances, traumas, interpersonal relationship histories, ego states and feelings…and I could add many more contributors. For example, when we feel trapped and it feels like there are no choices, when it feels like there is no way out, we can be sure we are going to make a choice, and it may not always be the best choice for us, because that choice will circumstantially be protective, combative, defensive, with a purpose of trying to get control. That is a choice we are making, it is not probably the choice we would make with our core self in control, or our thinking choice, but it is a responsive (often fear based) choice that in some ways is instinctual, intrapersonal, and even intuitive for protection of the “all of us” as an individual.
I guess what I am saying is that joy, I don’t think is always a make-able choice…or in the repertoire of choices at any given moment if there are fears, emotions, feelings. Just choosing joy doesn’t override feelings, protection, or reactionary choices. The gift we can give others is to respect that joy may not be overflowing. It doesn’t mean that it is not there…it is like the sun behind clouds…some days it appears there is no sun, but we know it is there. Someone is not doing something wrong if they are not making a choice to experience joy. I think JOY chooses us and when we are free in that knowing, and continue to grow in freedom in our honoring our needs, then joy can be a choice, but when we have places to heal in feelings, emotions, beliefs, then joy is there and in the waiting, and allowing the feelings to come forth is like choosing joy…for it is in the light and knowing that healing does occur.
Integrative thought: If joy is not on your radar for choices today, grace yourself to let that be ok.