Sympathetic Joy

I’m still digesting all the wonderful stuff I picked up last weekend at the yoga workshop. One of the assignments Judith Lasater gave us was the practice of Sympathetic Joy.

We’ve become all too familiar with the feeling of dread that seems to envelope the world today. Turn on the news and you’ll hear all the horrible things that mankind visits on itself. You walk away feeling tired and sad and doubtful that there’s any good left in the world. You absorb in other’s pain and become depressed as a result.

So why not use those empathetic abilities to drink in the joy in the world. It’s there. Oh, probably not on the news. Turn the darned TV off. But if you look, joy is there. Think of the feeling you get when you look at a baby and he smiles at you. THAT is Sympathetic Joy.

The party that I attended to celebrate the launch of Rebecca Drake’s new thriller was one example. I called it living vicariously through a friend’s success, but it’s the same thing. She was happy and all of her friends shared in that happiness.

One place I usually never experience Sympathetic Joy is at the nursing facility where my dad now resides. His Alzheimer’s gives him huge mood swings, mostly toward the bad. But yesterday, my brother came to visit and brought two of his granddaughters, ages 3 and 4 (and an half). These two little cuties lit up the room and I saw a twinkle in my dad’s eye that’s been missing for over a year. Then there’s the sound of little girl giggles. You know the sound I mean. How can you NOT smile at that sound? As Emily and Isabel’s giggles echoed down the hallway, the nurses smiled. Even the other residents smiled.

THAT is Sympathetic Joy.

Look around you. Find something or someone that makes you feel good and let yourself live in the radiance of that happiness for a while. Set a goal to seek out a little Sympathetic Joy today. Then leave me a comment so the rest of us can share the experience, too!


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