Tonight we light the 8th and final candle of Chanukah this year.
The question tonight is: What are 8 things that bring you joy.
Joy is the deep experience of happiness. It could be a moment of wonder (watching a grandchild grow and change every day) or a friend with whom you feel glee, or it could be the feeling you have at the ocean or in the forest or when you start out on a journey. Recognizing what brings you joy and seeking joy and awe are an essential element of a full life. This is light shining in your life.
Even in the darkest times, Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlov reminds us to
“Always remember, joy is not incidental to spiritual quest. It is vital.”
Here are mine (not in order):
1. Watching birds soaring on the shifting currents of the air. It makes me stop for a second and ponder that feeling of just letting be…I also love watching the hummingbirds and yellow finches in our backyard. And guess what? We often hear an owl and have seen her fly with her huge wing span. Wow.
2. Without a doubt, our dog Bo brings joy every single day. He’s funny, and so sweet and reminds me to just be. It’s enough. The way he runs with abandon is exhilarating.
3. Music brings me enormous joy. I just received my most played songs of 2018 on Spotify and listening to it fills me with deep happiness.
4. Friendships – being with people who believe in me, see the best, and are kind is the BEST.
5. Dancing: I’ve always been a dancer, and it lights me up. Why don’t I do it more often?
6. Teaching: When I have taught a piece of wisdom, or shared Torah, it is the most joyful experience. The process of creating a teaching these days feels like art – I start with a whole bunch of various texts and ideas and it feels like chaos at first. I wonder if it will ever be cohesive, and I despair a little . But slowly, it all gets combined into one piece with beautiful parts and it’s profoundly exciting.
7. Cooking: I love creating dishes that others will enjoy. (Why don’t I do it more often?)
8. Chevruta/partner studying. Wow. When I engage with others studying a text, it is a total high. I learn so much that I wouldn’t see on my own.
What about you? I’d love to hear.