Many years ago, I was sitting in an airport waiting room along with other travelling-waiters. I noticed this woman sitting across from me, and I was struck by her peaceful nature. Her young kids flanked either side of her. Her one son laid his head on her lap, and she slowly stroked his hair. Her other son, laid his head on her shoulder. All around her the impatient energy was palpable in the air. No one wanted to be waiting in this holding cell of anxious travellers. Yet, it appeared there was no other place she would rather be. Her energy was one of joy, peace and gratitude. ZEN JOY. It was one of those life moments you carry with you in your memory bank.
I inwardly vowed that one day…I too would find that Zen Joy. Not from any external sources, but truly from within.
Now, I should tell you, at that point of my life, I was struggling with so many inward battles. None of which were known to many who loved me. I was neither zen, nor was I happy. But I pretended to be.
Airport Mom was the first person who introduced me to the possibility of true inner happiness. It’s not to say that she didn’t have trials and adversity in her life, I also understood that she most likely dealt with the same tricky balancing act all of us Moms face.
After that I was acutely aware of that energy when I saw it.
And then I met another Zen Joy girl in Jamaica. Amanda…
This time I was more determined to figure out how she carried such zen joy, so I had a long conversation with her. She was very thankful and grateful for her job. She traveled two hours there by bus, worked her shift at a 5 star resort for very little money by Canadian standards, and traveled two hours home. Repeat. Yet, she was so ecstatic for this amazing opportunity to work and she did so with joy. She was surrounded by privileged travellers complaining about room service options and wait times for dinner reservations. I will always remember her and her infectious smile. What a beautiful soul.
Through out the years, I have encountered more Zen Joy people.
I met a girl at the gym named Michele, who incidentally is now a good friend of mine; she attacked each workout at the gym with so much energy and joy. It always stood out to me. And now in getting to know her, I understand that she has overcome a lot in her life, and she truly appreciates the blessings in her world. She strives everyday to work on herself and raise her kids to be stellar people. She exudes authenticity, positivity, and gratitude. She lives passionately and vivaciously. She’s also brutally honest with herself and with others. A character trait I have come to appreciate and need in my life.
An enthusiastic woman named Patti came into my world at life’s perfect timing. She’s an amazing Zen Joy person. Every. Single. Day. she works on her character, heart, body, and soul. She gives freely. Loves deeply. Is so empathetic to other’s emotions. One day as we had unexpected time together, she presented me with a hand-knitted infinity scarf. What she said to me will always live in my heart. “I thought of you with love within ever inch I knitted of this infinity scarf”. When I wear that scarf I feel loved! ha! How amazing is that, and what a gift to my soul. Thank you.
And then there’s Linda Lou, another Zen Joy woman who gracefully traveled into my heart at perfect timing. Oh my, if you have the privilege to be around her energy, you WILL smile and feel joy. It’s impossible not to. She uses her time to uplift others. In fact, we will be working together; and she will drop everything to march up to another just to tell them something she genuinely appreciates about them. ha! It’s fascinating to watch honestly. And then she marches back to me and continues to work with every ounce of energy she has.
There was one more instance of a Zen Joy person that stands out within my mind. I was going to Farmer’s market one day, and this guy rode by on his bicycle. He was so happy, ear to ear smile! He walked around the market, talking to people, and I immediately saw his Zen Joy in how he treated others. He took the time to visit, laughed effortlessly, and looked people in the eye as they talked. I often give people nick names if I don’t know them, I called him Beautiful Jesus. He kinda looked like Jesus and his energy truly was beautiful. ha! I don’t know how Beautiful Jesus is so zen and full of joy; but in talking with other Zen Joy people, I have noticed a common theme.
Their lives are not without adversity and tails, quite the opposite. They have grown in grace and beauty because of the problems in their lives. They perceive it differently, grateful for lessons learned as they navigate the storms in their lives (which they understand will pass).
They live with sincere gratitude. A thankful heart. They know that nothing is guaranteed in life, so enjoy the good times. And if good times are few and far between, create it.
They see each day as an opportunity to live passionately and with joy. A gift.
They understand this life needs to be lived out-loud, using their voice wisely to uplift and encourage and not complain and discourage.
They CHOOSE joy. They laugh freely. Give more than they take.
They are at peace with who they are as people. Authenticity rains within their spirit.
I waited a long time to blog about these Zen Joy people, because I was only going to do so when I felt like I too was becoming a Zen Joy chick myself. I’m so grateful to say, that while I may not encompass that every single day…I can feel that zen hugging at my spirit often now. And Joy is something I feel often. My smile is one of gratitude for every shred of happiness I encounter in my day.
When you spend some time in darkness, the light is so sweet. Oh man is it sweet.
I wish for you Zen Joy, and if you are at a place you don’t feel that…I hope you will open your eyes and heart to the possibility of it. It does not come from “things”; nor does it come from others. It’s all you my friends. And within your control to feel it. Perception is your reality.
From my Zen Joyful heart to yours,