This summer, I’ve been working on my daily qigong practice. Of course, I grumble when the alarm goes off and then slowly make my way out to the balcony. Here I may be greeted by a soft palette of colors or some stunning cloud formations.
I begin my qigong movements, as I watch the changing sky. A portion of it gradually brightens and then suddenly, the first glimmer of dazzling light appears. It feels like a delightful old friend has again surprised me.
Bit by bit, the almost blinding circle of light emerges. Some days, it continues to rise in the clear blue sky. Others, it plays hide and seek among the clouds resulting in an amazing kaleidoscope of light and darkness.
I rotate between practicing qigong, attempting to capture the sunrise on my phone camera, and standing in awe of the incredible view. I’m often in touch with a deep sense of joy that bubbles up from deep within me.
Rather than lingering in this joy, I can be overtaken by a sense of sadness. I think of all those who don’t have the opportunity to experience this daily spectacle. It may be because they are sleeping in or are too busy, but there are far too many people who don’t have access to such beauty.
In addition, there is so much suffering among us, and the issues are overwhelming: mass shootings, climate crisis, racism, and the list goes on and on. It’s so easy to sink into a sense of despair.
Is it okay to experience deep joy when so many people in the world are suffering? I brought this question to a group of wise women. They all listened attentively, and then one responded, “It’s not only okay. It’s essential. How can we heal and transform this hurting world without a deep sense of joy to sustain us?”
As I continue to reflect on this, I know that joy is essential. Previously, I had thought that qigong was my daily practice, and that the joy of the sunrise was simply one of its benefits. Now, I realize that I am being invited to practice joy.
As we move towards autumn, I want to commit to joy as my daily practice. To experience joy. Linger in joy. Embody joy. Go out in the world and share joy with others.
What is the invitation for you?
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