Joy Is Not Always The Right Word

Today has me contemplating on joy and how sometimes joy is just not the right word for the moment we are experiencing.

Living in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, you may have heard some of the news reports of the flooding that we are experiencing. Mudslides, fear of levees breaching, and loss of life both agriculturally and human have been widely broadcast. Around me, I hear of people suffering mental illness from trauma, people who have lost both their livelihoods and their homes, and people who are feeling extremely vulnerable about where their next meal or warm bed will come from.

A message of joy seems vastly inappropriate when there is suffering.

On the news, there are images of people hoarding food and ignoring government restrictions on gas to take care of themselves first, and when I see them, I am filled with rage, helplessness, and fear.

Fear is the polar opposite of joy.

Emotions are Indicators of Connection to the Soul

These words, fear and joy, are words which describe a state of being. They relay, sometimes inadequately, the type and level of emotion you are living in. Emotions are a measure of how connected or disconnected you are from your soul/inner being/source.

I’ve read that you can’t live in two emotional states at the same time, and I used to think that was true. I now would argue against the truth of that statement. I believe that we are complex human beings, and we are capable of multitasking even in emotions. I envision emotions of light (good ones) and dark (negative ones) existing in the expanse of our souls, and like the moon, we have different phases where one may play a more dominant role than the others. The question is do we allow only the dark or eventually do we allow the emotions of light to exist alongside the dark? Also which emotion do we allow to the primary driver of our actions? Hint: it’s not the dark ones.

Light and Dark Emotions Exist Together

Here is a concept of how emotions live in tandem.

In anxiety, there can be shared vulnerability.

In anger, there can be incentive to act proactively.

In fear, there can be reasons to hope.

In frustration, there can be acceptance.

In loneliness, there can be opportunities to develop friendships with ourselves.

In loss, there can be reprioritizing of values.

In chaos, there can be islands of calm.

In grief, there can be appreciation for love.

The Greatest of These

I am not here to tell you at what point it is right for you to allow the light in. This is your journey, and sometimes we feel we have no choice but to be saturated in the dark for a time. Eventually though, because our baseline level of existence is to hope, we turn towards the light. And when you feel you are able to allow the light back in, follow it and let it be your compass back to joy.

Because hope, friendship, appreciation, peace, connection, and vulnerability are all friends of joy, but the greatest of all the light emotions is and will always be love.

Stay safe, everyone. I wish you light.


As I am typing this, I am listening to my neighbor who thinks he is alone belting out the lyrics The Boys of Summer by Don Henley. He doesn’t remember all the words and so intermittent lyrics get belted out at top lung strength and then musical mumbling ensues. A reminder that even if you can’t find joy, joy will probably come looking for you…even in the form of a musically challenged neighbor.


“Light is to darkness what love is to fear; in the presence of one the other disappears.”

- Marianne Williamson

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