The drum beats are loud and rhythmic with joyous additions of bells and maracas. People dance. Others trade instruments. I dance.
I am not at a powwow. I am under a bridge on the Riverwalk in a town I never imagined living in. There are hundreds of like-minded people here, spiritual, happy, artistic, lovely people of all races. A few dozen are gathered beneath the bridge to dance and drum.
I imagine I probably look like a high hippie, my bare feet bouncing from the ground, hips shimmying, my hands moving the rings of bells in tandem with the drums. I sense an unfamiliar emotion rising up. Joy.
I have learned that there is a difference between happiness and joy. I have been happy. Even when we lost our whole world a few years back, I stayed happy. I have always found happiness around my husband and my children, my family and my friends, in my work. The past four years have not been easy for us. Beneath happiness can lurk a bit of sadness.
I think this kitten was sent to save me. I have had kittens before but I find myself laughing at his antics several times a day. I realize I haven’t laughed much in a long time. I cannot stop the giggles as he wrestles a cat far larger than he to the ground. When he snuggles into my shirt. When his entire body fits in the food bowl as he tries to eat. My lymph nodes are no longer swollen. I feel like I can breathe.
When I work with people I always have them think of their ideal day. What the life they want to live looks like. Well, as I sit on my sun dappled front porch, cup of coffee in hand, as a Mexican Goshawk flies overhead, I have found joy. I am living the life I dreamed. Clients coming to my home for help, spreading ancient wisdom through classes, being a housewife, and being alive. Joy bubbles forth in a child-like sense of peace and giggles. I am grateful. I never imagined we’d be in our own home.
Listen, whatever you are going through today; whatever transition you are making, whatever loss you are enduring, hang on. You may not be able to imagine it but you are going to come out the other side. And before you know it, you will be laughing, and dancing, and beating your own drum again. Wishing you joy.