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Cultivating Joy

by Mary Pipher
September/October 2021
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/cultivating-joy/5026166/

I once visited an aging jazz musician in New York City. Jane had traveled the world and performed with great artists, but now she was bedridden and living in a tiny apartment with only one small window. For companionship, she had a piano and a caregiver who came once a day. Her circumstances seemed grim, but when I asked Jane if she was happy, she broke into a big grin and pointed to her brain. She said, “I have everything I need to be happy right between my ears.”

Happiness is not the result of circumstance, but rather it is a matter of choices and skills. No matter our situations, we always have freedom in how we respond. Attitude trumps circumstance. And, if we look for joy, we are likely to find it. 

It is never too late to become a happy person. We can set our mind to it and work to acquire the necessary skills. They are gratitude, slowing down, being awake to the wonder all around us, being outside and enjoying the primal activities we humans have enjoyed since the beginning of time. These skills can become healthy habits, just like brushing our teeth or exercising. 

Gratitude is not ...

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