Leaning into Joy

How do you find joy when the going is not easy? Why is it important to lean into joy, especially during difficult times? Recently I’ve had the opportunity to practice looking for joy when the world feels heavy.

My first introduction to the idea of embracing moments of joy, even when times are tough was from author Sheree Fitch. In her book Kiss the Joy As It Flies she talks about looking for and kissing those fleeting moments of joy.

I wrote about joy and practical tips for finding joy in the every day in my first book. Here is a creativity prompt from my second book, One Loop at a Time, The Creativity Workbook.

“A practice that I share in my Hook a Healing Mat workshops is to look

for moments of joy in the everyday. When I was having daily radiation

treatments, I looked for five moments of joy on my way to the hospital.

These moments might be a child’s smile, the colour of a blooming

rose, the way a bird soars over the harbour, and so on.

The second part of this exercise is to notice how your body feels when

you are feeling joy. Where do you feel it—in your heart, in your arms,

in your gut? By connecting with the body feeling, I believe we are

training our brain to look for and recognize joy.

Noticing the world around you as you travel through your day can help

you be grounded. It also helps us to form a habit of looking for beauty

instead of focusing on the negative. It is hard to have a dark thought

while you are opening to a moment of joy.

If tuning into how your body feels doesn’t come easily to you, don’t

worry. Just begin to pay attention when you think or feel something.

Can you notice it in your body? Many of my students find it begins with

noticing something like a stomach clenching when they are feeling

a fear or a worry. Gradually they learn to identify the sensations

connected to positive emotions.


What do you notice in the everyday that brings you joy? Where do you feel this in your body? Can you sketch the sensation of joy?”

Why is it important to look for and notice joy?

Noticing joy helps to break up the congestion and heaviness we can feel when we are going through difficult times. It also puts life in perspective when we can inject a moment of joy.

Someone that inspires me when I think of joy is author Teva Harrison. Teva lived with metastatic breast cancer as a young woman. She was the author of an amazing book – part memoir and part graphic novel called In Between Days: A Memoir About Living with Cancer. Her book is both poignant and full of joy. She lived her life fully and with great joy and delight.

Teva graciously reviewed my new book and here is what she said “With warmth and joy, Meryl Cook shares her secrets for unlocking creativity and letting your creative spirit flow in her wonderful new book One Loop at a Time, The Creativity Workbook. What a gift!”

A message of joy from the queen of leaning into joy.