Ode to Joy
David Whyte writes of Joy as: “The sheer intoxicating beauty of the world inhabited as an edge between what we previously thought was us and what we thought was other than us.”
This definition feels nearly perfect:
- Pushing the thin envelope between self and other.
- Expanding our sense of being beyond our own individuality, and perhaps discovering that what appeared to hold us separate was just an assumption, an old idea.
- Surrendering to the exquisite urge to commune, to belong, to merge with everyone and the totality of life.
Part of me wants to give in with a blissful “ahhh” and let myself melt into the music of everything. At first. That’s my first impulse — oh, please, yes, joy…
But then I jerk myself back into self-preservation, into all the considerations that keep me grounded and intact, and think: Yeah, bliss is great, but make sure you watch out for your codependent tendencies. Maybe it’s time for some self-care, which probably means alone-time. You’d better work on establishing some healthy boundaries.
It’s a tricky balance, for sure.
We need strong, balanced egos (any idea that we’re supposed to transcend the ego or eliminate it from our psychological makeup is just silly). And it is important to maintain appropriate boundaries. Indeed, we want to be functional individuals embodying our own clarity, intention, and values, with a free and independent ability to actualize life. If we’re looking to others to complete us, what does that say about our own wholeness? So, yes, solitude and self-awareness and self-care are essential.
I think it’s why Whyte describes it as an “edge.” Joy as recognizing the experiential world as an edge between ourselves as we have already known ourselves and everything we are becoming.
Inhabiting this world — this particular moment in time and space between me and you, between us and everything — as an invitation and opportunity into beauties and wonders heretofore never known.
To lean into such a joyful relationship with the world does mean being sure of who we’ve been, mindful and strong in that. But we must also be willing to be swept off our feet by that which is just being born in and through ourselves, in and through everything.
Joyful Holidays, my friends.
© Drew Groves 2019