Resolve: Joy

In thinking back on 2016, I realized that because I was "too busy" this year, I did not take time to reset by doing things that bring me joy. For instance, watching the sunset on my porch in the mountains brings me joy. The quiet of the evening is something that I absolutely love. So, in thinking on 2017 resolutions, I decided that I should take up sunset watching once again. "Cultivating joy" is first on my resolution list.

In "The Book of Joy" Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that joy "is much bigger than happiness. While happiness is often seen as being dependent on external circumstances, joy is not". Joy is internal. Joy comes from purpose. 

In researching people who have cultivated joy, I came across Danny Miller. Miller is a self-proclaimed "stubborn skier". He is not a skier full-time. He is not an olympian. He is not even necessarily a "smooth" skier. But he is devoted. Since 1993, Miller has skied every month of every single year. That is 23 years of skiing or 277 months. Though Miller is part of a community of year-round skiers, he does not ski every month out of an urge to be competitive, or out of a sense of loyalty to a group. Miller wrote on his year-round skier profile,

I tend to mostly enjoy the day for the good weather and views, and some of my best memories were on trips where the snow was so bad my friends with me had a miserable time. I enjoy going off the beaten path, and sometimes the place you find is so beautiful it almost doesn’t matter what the snow conditions are.

In other words, Miller skis because the mountains are where he finds joy. Joy is what keeps Miller so serious about his skiing streak among other hobbies. Besides skiing, Miller has taken up identifying mushrooms for the Puget Sound Mycological society. If you fear you've been poisoned by a mushroom, you can call Danny Miller with a description of the mushroom for a yay or nay. Miller also has a job, I should mention, as a software developer. But in order to find his joy, he says, "I approach my hobbies with the seriousness of a job or career"

Perhaps skiing isn't your "thing". Maybe sports in general are not in the cards. I'm guessing that studying mushrooms is probably a "no-go", as well. But I encourage you, like Miller, to explore hobbies that may not seem like your niche. Miller says that he has more of a "dad bod" than a "beach bod". His physique is not perfect. His athleticism could be better. When he skis, though, none of that matters. Perhaps this is because when he skis, Miller spends too much time experiencing joy to focus on worrying about his shortcomings. It seems that Miller understands that, 

From the very core of our being, we simply desire joy and contentment. But so often these feelings are fleeting and hard to find, like a butterfly that lands on us and then flutters away.
— His Holiness the Dalai Lama, "The Book of Joy"

In 2017, don't let your joy flutter away.

What are your resolutions for 2017? I will be listing mine all week long. I would love to see your resolutions or how you plan to cultivate joy in the comments section below!  



Elise MatsonComment