Oh Joy!

Surprised by joy

Joy is one of the five feelings (the others being anger, fear, sadness and disgust) and is ‘felt’ through a general relaxation of the muscles in the body. Like all feelings, joy is momentary, just a flickering of sensation.


How I interpret this feeling of joy is that our very complex organism - trillions of cells - moving through an external world full of risks and surprises, is communicating to itself that things are OK. We are in the right place and doing the right things.

I am being surprised by joy more frequently now than in the past.

I understand this to mean that I am on the right path even though the world is increasingly more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (or VUCA in the literature) and I continue to struggle with making sense of what I am doing and the work I am engaged in is difficult, with a strong sense of not-yet-created.

Yet, momentarily, I have feelings of joy. Which makes it all worthwhile. It is odd that a second or so of feeling can be so comforting.

The right hemisphere is deeply connected into our bodies and strongly oriented to the external world. I believe that these feelings of joy are related to my journey of brain re-balancing and trusting the right hemisphere and its intuitions ahead of the left and its certainties and judgements.

Joy is a signpost. Staking out the path to follow.

John Corrigan