Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

Weekly Wisdom: Choosing Joy

in Card of the Week, Spiritual Practice, Tarot

(This morning, two cards fell out of my deck as I shuffled it — Bindweed and the Sun. They strike me as diametric opposites, as two ways to experience the world. The offer a clear choice of how to live our lives.)

“I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.” 

– Roger Ebert, cancer survivor

Every day, we get to choose, whether to go to the Dark Place or not.

I’m not talking about clinical depression.

I am talking about how we choose where to put our attention.

We can make a list of pros and cons about a relationship, a project, a health issue, a financial situation — and focus on everything that is negative about it and hang our heads in despair, or even take an action we might later regret. Or we can focus on everything that’s going right, and everything we value. We can practice gratitude. We can focus on the positive. Love engenders more love.

Is this being a Pollyanna? Because I choose to laugh, to smile, to be grateful for what is good in my life? To seek joy, wherever I can? I am not denying the dark — the melancholy, the grief, the heartache, the illnesses, the disappointments. They are all there. They always will be.

Walking the path of darkness has its own deep wisdom.

And yet, I choose to use my life’s blood, and my “wild and precious” time, to help make what is good, grow, rather than fighting the darkness.

It’s not nearly as dramatic or exciting as going to war against the bad guys in a blockbuster movie, but it has its own charms.

Years ago, I remember Vicki Noble talking about her cancer healing circles, in which some women were spontaneously healed. She taught her students to focus on multiplying the healthy cells in the body, rather than trying to vanquish the cancerous cells.

Somehow, over the years, that’s become the way I live my life.  I focus on growing what is joyous, and beautiful, and precious.

To seek joy, in the face of suffering, takes courage.

As I gaze at these two cards side by side, Bindweed and the Sun, I realize that I often have a tendency to either/or thinking. A situation is all good, or it’s all bad.

And that is not really the truth, is it? Real experience is more like the yin/yang symbol, where light and dark enter into each other’s territory.

Not either/or, but both/and, complementing each other and dancing with each other.

And still, like Roger Ebert (who survived one the most difficult challenges anyone could ever suffer), I choose to focus on finding joy, making joy, spreading joy.

Blessed be.

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • Lunaea Mon - Apr 16th 2012 12:25 pm

    “Is this being a Pollyanna? Because I choose to laugh, to smile, to be grateful for what is good in my life? To seek joy, wherever I can? I am not denying the dark — the melancholy, the grief, the heartache, the illnesses, the disappointments. They are all there. They always will be.”

    Yes, this is being a Pollyanna, which is a term I’ve been working to reclaim as the powerful affirmation it is, not the dismissive epithet it’s become in our cynical society. Pollyanna is a fabulous role model of looking for the blessings in every situation and choosing joy. As are you!

    • Joanna Mon - Apr 16th 2012 12:32 pm

      Hey! Cool! Love the reclaiming of Pollyanna! (it was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. Not surprising, eh?)

  • Danielle Mon - Apr 16th 2012 1:15 pm

    Thank you for this! I just suffered through a pretty sudden and shocking series of events this weekend that had me feeling scared, anxious, and upset, and I really needed to hear this. I am choosing joy today!

    • Joanna Tue - Apr 17th 2012 7:57 am

      Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, Danielle. Blessings.

  • Mimi Mon - Apr 16th 2012 4:22 pm

    Thank you, Joanna. I needed very much to hear this.

    • Joanna Tue - Apr 17th 2012 7:57 am

      You’re welcome, Mimi. I think we all need to hear it!

  • Arwen Mon - Apr 16th 2012 11:25 pm

    You will be surprised, not, to hear that I am still seeking joy. I love what you say here. It’s not an easy path even though it may seem like one. But seeking joy is very rewarding. And I adore being called a Pollyanna!

    • Joanna Tue - Apr 17th 2012 7:58 am

      I thought of you, Arwen, and almost wrote: “Seek Joy, y’all!” 🙂
      Thanks for always pointing the way to Joy.

  • Pooja Rathore Tue - Apr 17th 2012 10:46 am

    I completely agree with u joanna,The law abundance says the same ,concentrate on what you have it will grow and eventually you will have even that which you are lacking,by focussing on negative you loose what u have and also the chance of bringing good in your life for universe is positive and is partial to those who think positive….Dont anticipate the worst look forward to the best!