The Lesson of Joy
Updated: Nov 18
When we move into authentic radiance, we leave the space of shoulds, doubts, and living a life in obedience to stories behind.
A few months ago while moving deeper into surrender opportunities I ventured on a road trip to a small mountain village just a couple hours away. While alone in this community I felt compelled to visit its very touristy waterfall which is very unlike me to do anything this touristy. The area around the falls was full of people wearing masks and cameras. Families and couples were competing for space on the bridge to pose for Instagram and family photos. I was pulled to walk a path that appeared to lead up the mountain to a plateau overlooking the falls.
Any noises in my mind were wisped away as the beauty of wildflowers, shrubs and new tree growth seemed to glow as I moved up the path. Not many people were on the path, and of those who passed my leisurely stride looked like they intended to hike a lengthy trail. Stopping a couple on their way down the path, I asked, "how much further does the path go?". "About 14 kilometers to the turnaround point." the man replied in a heaby breath as they moved past me without stopping.
My flipflops and I were not prepared for such a journey so I would only go to the top of the falls. Once again, I was lost in the majestic scenery and essence of the forest when a father his son and daughter approached from behind me. The son passed first followed by the father, and lastly the daughter. The daughter appearing to be about 7 years old was singing with a happy vibrant energy while carrying a baseball cap as if it were a bowl. As curious as I could be, I couldn't help but notice the contents of the cap. I was surprised to see it was half full of flowers. Beautiful wild flowers from along the trail.
My heart sank as I felt into the pleasure I was experiencing while adoring flowers along the trail. My mind which had been so Zen like fired up and began churning all sorts of reasons she should not be picking flowers. Old stories popped in and out.
A moment of reprieve came while I was passing part of the forest that had burned a few years ago. I was struck by the contrast of new growth and charcoaled trees. Even in death there was beauty. Even with that, my mind was insistent on finding something real to convince me with. But it lost, nothing it brought contained any factual evidence to support not picking flowers. The only truth that held any ground was that I loved seeing and smelling the flowers.
My mind then raced to creating fictitious stories with faeries and other mystical beings. As I looked over the top of the waterfalls, my mind was insistent on creating a vivid story that I could share with the girl if I ever had the chance to see here again. That carefully crafted story could hopefully result in her giving up her flower picking career. Walking back down the path after many stories had run through my mind, it became evident that every story could and most likely would negatively impact the girl. No matter how empirical, childish, transcendent, or fantastical the story, I couldn't find one that would leave the girl with anything positive.
My mind gave up when I was about half way down the path moving past the new growth forest. And in that giving up, a realization popped into my world. This isn't my battle. This isn't something for my mind to solve. This isn't anything for me at all. Who am I to try to suppress the girls desire and joy just because I have a selfish concern for a few flowers along the trail. And In that moment, I felt a great relief and a surprising tap on my back.
I was listening to my favorites playlist on Spotify and could not hear any traffic until it was upon me. So the tap came up out of the blue. I began to turn to see who had tapped me, and as I was turning the girl said very loudly, "excuse me please." As I moved aside, she moved from behind me to ahead of me in what I can only call was a skipping motion and then spun on the trail right before me. It was her and I, no parents, no pedestrians or committed hikers. We were both stopped facing each other. In the next moment we spent what felt like an eternity as time slowed down and we connected with our eyes.
She had a gift for me. It was the most radiant joy filled smile I had ever witnessed. My heart tore open and we stood there for a few moments with no words. Joy blissfully radiating from her to me. And as fast as it had begun, she spoke one word before it all ended while she spun in the trail and skipped off down the path. "Thank you!"