Today in the chart

The Dance of Courageous Care: Step #5, Joy

When we soften and receive together we experience healing and joy.

In our last grief recovery class, it was brought up that everything seems to lose its shine when we are grieving. The colors are just not as bright as they once were. I think about my grief and how it sometimes felt like I was drowning and could barely breathe. Yet somehow, during that time, I woke up each morning, put on my scrubs, and went to work day after day. We are all holding so much, and it feels like a rare gift when we can stop and lay down all we are carrying, even if it is just for a moment. 

I wonder if joy is not the absence of our grief or the absence of all we carry. What if joy is incited when we can unmask and share what we carry and allow others to hold it alongside us? When we do not grieve our losses, the world loses its shine, we start to numb, and our joy can seem so far away. 

We are on the path of joy when we allow ourselves to grieve, soften, cry, get angry, and tell the truth about all we feel. The depths we allow ourselves to feel our grief are also the depths we feel our joy. Our grief and joy are intrinsically intertwined, informing each other of the beauty and loss happening all around us simultaneously. 

When I think about joy, I can think of a few moments where joy felt the strongest for me: 

  1. Dancing in my graduate program after my mother died: I think it was because I had a group of other dancers moving alongside me, caring for me and encouraging me to cry and grieve. This connection and care enabled my joy to return and flourish as I allowed myself to be honest and cared for by others. 
  1. When I would dance in my sister’s room at night when she was sick and couldn’t speak or move: I would spend the days in deep grief with her, and then at night, I would blast Hannah Montana, and I would dance it out around her room, hoping maybe she could feel me and the freedom in my body would also help her feel free in hers. When I danced, she would laugh, and seeing her smile and laugh brought my heart so much joy. 
  1. Giving birth to my twins. I spent over 24 hours laboring naturally with these babes and eventually had a C-section. The last nine months of carrying two babies and the pain of labor ushered in my joy as I finally met them and held them cheek to cheek. 

Joy is not always tied to big events; it is a practice of seeing joy and beauty in simple everyday moments. I find joy when I choose and practice embracing the beauty all around me. Yesterday, I was stretching on my porch and admiring this bright green beetle. I realized this poor little beetle was stuck in a web as I looked closer. I gently used a stick to help free it, and although I quite possibly screwed up the food chain, I felt so much joy freeing this little creature and sending it on its way.  

What about you? How would you define joy? I invite you to journal around these prompts: 

  1. What is your definition of joy?
  1. When have you felt the most joy in your life? What were the circumstances? What was happening? 
  1. What are some ways you find joy in everyday moments? 

Tara Rynders, The Dancing Nurse Educator, and Nightingale Luminary, is the CEO and Founder of The Clinic.

Subscribe to our M-F newsletter
Thank you for subscribing! Welcome to The Nursing Beat!
Please enter your email address