Seeking the Microjoy

The quick and sure march into the holidays has already begun. With Thanksgiving, Advent, and Hanukkah already passed or in progress, it seems that time takes on its own end-of-year trajectory. I imagine you have felt it regardless of the holidays you do or don’t celebrate. There is a quickening that is inescapable. 

In the best of years, when a jovial spirit feels easy to embrace, this brisk pace can feel like walking a tightrope. This has, again, not been the best of years for most if not all of us, so the speed with which we feel nudged to move is jarring. I am not depressed. I am not sad or grieving. But I am not what I would name as carefree or joyful. For reasons that I am not quite able to detail, I am lackluster. I am not sure I need a reason as I have heard many times from reputable sources: Facts are not feelings, and feelings are not facts. What this means to me is I feel the way I feel. I don’t need to justify it or necessarily make sense of it. I am merely asked to feel it. 

Joyful is decidedly not the feeling. What about you? If you feel joyful, please let me take this moment to cheer from this side of the fence and say, “Go be joyful, friend! Embody it.” I do not intend to be a joy squasher nor stealer. I know how joy works. She is a mystical fairy dusted muse who will skitter my way before I know it. She isn’t stingy, and she doesn’t play favorites. I know this to be true.

If you, however, are on my side of the fence this year. In the less than joyful camp, please pull up a sleeping bag, scoot closer next to the campfire, and listen. I have something important to tell you. “It’s OK. Simply because you may not FEEL joyful does not preclude you from experiencing joy.” Stay with me, I have more to share, and it’s not solely from me, so it’s bound to be useful.

Author Cyndie Spiegel is the first person I ever heard using the term microjoys. In an unspeakably tragic year, she endured incomprehensible loss. Yet, she processed her grief while simultaneously looking for and sharing her microjoys, whatever they may have been on any given day. What, you may ask, are microjoys? Exactly what you imagine. They are tiny, even minuscule, moments of relief, of happiness. They are seconds-long breaks in the clouds of heartache or confusion that give us just the glimpses we need to reassure it won’t always be this way. In fact, these moments remind us it has never always been this way.

Bhakti the cat

What I offer and am employing for myself currently is a practice of seeking microjoys. Instead of rebuking myself for not being in the requisite joyful mood, I am finding teensy, tiny; if you weren’t looking for them, you’d miss them moments of joy. 

If you need an example, I have some to share. Wednesday morning, I went out for a walk, and as the sun was rising, the sky was ablaze with pinks and reds, and the color made the clouds shimmer. I stopped, took photos, and had a few moments of awe. A microjoy, if you will. Earlier this week, I woke to my cat nudging my hand in the middle of the night because she required some attention. I gave her head a little rub, and she started to purr. Yep, you guessed it, microjoy! 

This season can be simple if we allow it. Our joy can be micro or macro if we allow it. Let it be what it is.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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