Seeking Joyful Company

I recently decided to let some things go and channel my activities in new directions. In spite of the challenges this raised, the emotional result was that I felt joyful — almost giddy, in fact. I know I was beaming because I suddenly started having wonderful interactions with store clerks, strangers in checkout lines, anyone who crossed my path.

At the end of one long and happy day, I wanted to watch a little television. Here was a puzzle: what could I find to match my mood? I surfed around a bit in the Netflix Instant options before giving up and going to bed. The next morning I realized I could go back in time. I was Singin’ in the Rain kind of happy. Puttin’ on My Top Hat, Tyin’ Up My White Tie, Brushin’ off My Tails. I made adjustments to my lists in Netflix and Pandora and settled in for pure joyous confection.


This was it — not that things were suddenly easy or that the outer circumstances had changed, but I had the sun in my heart and a smile on my face.

Yes, if I went a little further back in time, there was plenty to choose from:

The weather is frightening, the thunder and lightening seem to be having their way.

But as far as I’m concerned, it’s a lovely day.


How marvelous of these generous souls from long ago to record sounds and images of joy that still delight so many decades later. As a movement person, I am especially thrilled with the levity and ease expressed by the dancers. What pleasure to see people happy in their own skins, having fun with gravity, the ground and one another. And many, many thanks to Gene Kelly for such a beautiful reminder that  rain can be so much fun if we don’t resist it.

All this has set me on a new treasure hunt: I now actively seek contemporary representations of joy. Help me out here, please. Where do you find reflections of joy? In movies, music, books, paintings, gatherings — who are the artists and community members of today who infuse joy into the cultural and communal mix? I promise to follow through and look into any resource that gets posted in the comments. In the meantime, I’ll keep dipping into the rich legacy left by previous generations and will continue my own search for expressions of joy in our days. I’m especially interested in real-time, in-person gatherings. Where do people meet to be joyful in company?

Aug 30

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