Yesterday I took a walk through "Paris."
The Essex Street Pedestrian Mall is an outdoor area of shops and businesses in Salem, well manicured and heavily traveled by tourists. One dance studio in the area will occasionally run its afternoon lessons with the second floor windows flung open to the street below. Beautiful music floods the street and the ears of passers by. One day might find you listening to a beautiful fluid Satie or Chopin composition, the next, an upbeat Django Reinhardt or Gershwin adds an extra spring to your step. I've never been to Paris, but every time that I get this rare chance to pass under the windows of the ballet studio, I am literally frozen in time for just a brief moment. I breathe in, make note of the color cast on the buildings by the afternoon sun, the softness of the air around me, and listen and look at the people, going about their day to day lives, sitting on benches, walking their dogs, gazing into jewelry store windows nearby. Although, I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting, in that brief moment I imagine that this is how it must feel to be in Paris. And I am filled with joy.
It never ceases to amaze me, the people who pass by this moment, completely oblivious to its charms. Perhaps, the rush to complete their errands is what brings swiftness to their step. Maybe they just don't like French music. Either way, it is interesting to see what brings joy to one person, while another is completely unfazed. Also amazing to me is the knowledge that this ONE PARTICULAR circumstance stops me in my tracks every time and holds me there in rapt attention, yet I pass by a million moments like this every day and pay it no mind whatsoever, or worse, find myself bothered by it's intrusion. How many of us live each moment of our lives with that level of joy, with the full appreciation that it deserves? How many of us, in our rush to get from point A to point B, would rather bypass the scenic route in favor of the undefined highway?
What IS Joy?
According to Websters, The definition of Joy is as follows:
a: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight
b : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety
c: a state of happiness or felicity : bliss
d: a source or cause of delight
What constitutes JOY? How do we achieve it for more than one occasional moment in time, and keep it in our hearts, learning to live within that joy continuously, so that these random "Paris moments" are not so few and far-between? Is joy learned? Are people just BORN with joy and appreciation, while others are born negative? It is certainly not a conscious effort on my part to miss these joyous moments, so why are there so many half-full moments left unexperienced? How do I get to a place of commonplace joy, without waiting for the other shoe to drop? That is my main goal in life - to get to a place in life that I can find joy without having to look for it, eventually enjoy a life of gratitude and pureness of heart. I do not expect anyone else will get anything out of this, other than the entertainment of my periodic rants. However, if my words affect your life for the better, PLEASE let me know, and in return, know that you brought an extra moment of joy to mine.