Don’t Forget to Grab Joy!

Joy: 1

Nothing brings me greater joy than catalyzing others to dance, move, be in their bodies.–Dr. Deborah Cohan

The story that inspired today’s post may be one that you have already seen, because it has gotten huge media coverage.  Dr. Deborah Cohan asked her medical team to do a flash mob with her in the operating room before her double mastectomy.  If you have missed the story or the video, here’s the link:

I don’t know about you, but watching this video made me smile, and made me tear up.  Part of this is that I have dear friends and loved ones that have faced mastectomy, so I know what a big deal it is to do it with a smile, let alone with a joyful dance.

A bigger thing that grabbed me as I watched this video and read about the story was this: Deborah Cohan knows what brings her joy.  And in the face of something big and scary, she is grabbing on to that joy with both hands.  And she is giving her friends and family (and the rest of us) a chance to feed her joy, because she invited anyone who hears about her story to create a video and share it.

When we are ill, or sad, or scared–it can be easy to lose track of our joy.  It can feel like joy gets drowned out in the day-to-day grind of our various jobs.

That’s why it is so important to know what brings you joy, and to be an active agent into creating that joy in your own life.  Joy won’t mean that you aren’t scared. It won’t take away grief or stress.  Instead, joy can be the balancing element that helps us endure the hard stuff.

If you are reading this and saying, “But I don’t know what brings me joy–I’ve been sad too long,” then I’d like you to think about the last time you remember smiling, or laughing–even for a few seconds.  What were you doing?  What was happening around you?  Where were you?  Do you get your joy from others or from a few solitary moments with nature?

What Deborah Cohan reminds us is this–if you know yourself, you can grab joy even in the midst of big and scary things.  You can take an out-of-control time in your life and shape it to reflect your own values.  We can’t choose the hard things that we will be forced to face, but we can choose not to let go of our joy.

What’s your joy?  When have you grabbed it tight?

2 thoughts on “Don’t Forget to Grab Joy!

  1. The night before she died- and she was very aware she was dying- my Mom received a visit from my niece and her five year old son. Mom had been sleeping for six hours, soundly and peacefully. But she became wide awake, andher smile lit up heavens. She tried to speak butwas ffarttoo weak. Kim joked with her, and Mom gave her wonderful, tiny Beavis and Butthead laugh, and tried desperately to stay awake for more than a minute. She would not wake again. But what a gift that final joy was to us, how rich the summing up of her life in this final, hugely symbolic act of the will. How much that has taken the sting of pain from her death. Thank you so much for this laugh in the face of death, Mom, this final affirmation of life. And thank you so much for that joyous dance, Doctor!

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