Last week, my writing partner on this blog and I enjoyed a cold winter evening with a group of friends––eating, drinking, and being merry. We laughed so much that by the end of the evening our sides and faces hurt. As I drove home, I realized how important laughter is and how often we forget to put joy first in our lives.
That night, I dreamt about driving along a narrow, icy road bordered on both sides by snow banks twice my height––an apt symbol for my currently restricted life. Finally I emerged at a beautiful beach, where I saw windsurfers riding the waves. Even though the ocean was pretty rough, the surfers seemed to be having a good time gliding up and down the watery peaks and valleys. Watching them, I thought, “That looks like fun. I could do that.”
Of course, most of you know that water symbolizes the emotions. Waves represent the ups and downs, the crests and troughs, of our emotional lives. The windsurfers in my dream enjoyed riding those waves––even when they capsized they laughed, then got back on their boards and tried again.
Since then, I’ve thought a lot about joy. What’s its source? Where can we find it? Why is it lacking in so many people’s lives? Why do some of us seem to connect with it naturally, while others seek it desperately, yet unsuccessfully? How can we recapture it when things go wrong, rather than giving up?
I’ve thought a lot about my related dream, too. How succinctly and vividly our dreams speak to us, and how often they give us hope. My dream showed me that peaks and valleys are all part of the ride––you can’t surf on calm seas. It also said I don’t have to stand on the sidelines observing joy. Fun needn’t be an occasional experience, it’s available to us anytime, all the time.
Where do you find joy? What prevents you from embracing it? What can you do to experience more joy in your life? We invite you to share your thoughts and dreams.