Reclaiming Joy

“But she said, “Where’d you wanna go?
How much you wanna risk?
I’m not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts
Some superhero
Some fairytale bliss
Just something I can turn to
Somebody I can kiss
I want something just like this.”’ — The Chainsmokers

This picture of my little niece at 2 has always taken my breath away. The unbridled joy of a child being tickled spontaneously and giving in to the feeling of absolute unselfconscious pleasure in that simple, irreplaceable moment.

Since my accident almost 2 months ago, I’ve had to sit still and really listening to my heart and mind, wondering… “What am I looking for?” in life, myself, the world and relationships around and touching me every day? What is that unreachable “bliss” and “purpose” I’m pursuing so unrelentingly? Even more that, I’ve been grappling with the real question of: Why did I come here? To a strange land with strange, contradictory people?

I mean, for those who’ve been following my story-line, it’s been yet another pretty miserable, painful lesson I’ve had to learn. Like all my years managing cancer. I have Mean neighbors. Miserable landlords. Fractured limbs. And an impossible immigration situation that means I can’t earn a living locally.

Who could possibly want this, when everything sounds so unrelentingly awful?

The simple answer is “JOY”.

That joy my niece felt when I tickled her, and I thought I experienced here, in Bermuda, before Life happened and stole that joy away from me.

The challenge with thinking this way, is that not only is it wrong, it’s misplaced and completely out of context with what that Joy actually was. Small. Simple. Spontaneous. Unremarkable. And yet, we’re all raised, trained and cultivated to do just that. Pursue the Ultimate Joy while not understanding what Joy is, and certainly not appreciating and communicating it when it happens… Just in case there’s a better, greater, more “Superhuman” form of Joy we haven’t found yet.

As children (at least in the Western/Developed World”) we’re given very clear roles in order for “Joy to Happen”. That cosmic moment when Boy and Girl Meet. Lightning Strikes, He flies in without a word. She knows intuitively “He’s The One” and trustingly allows herself to be swept up up and away.

It’s a very convenient, neat and tidy little bow assigning gender and its roles, stories, expectations and a coupled destiny that leaves no room for the messy bits like hurt feelings, miscommunications, or even expression of our individuality, and the crooked, tortuous paths of taking the risky road of actually noticing those “little joys” in ourselves and our relationships and celebrating them openly. Especially when it involves asking those awkward questions about feelings, fears, the ultimate concern of “Unenoughness” because Obviously, we’re “Not Enough” as we are.

So, then the looming question comes back. Ok. Then, how do we find joy? Now that we are older and damaged?

And that is where the challenge lies. It’s a choice. One you have always had, whether recognized or not. Do you want to live a life of being a victim of the walls reminding you of your “Unenoughness”? And languish there? Or do you want to break them down and fight for the possibility that those little joys are actually the BIG ones instead, and knowing You Are Enough?

And if so, how far will you go? How much will you risk? Because the truth is, you are Enough. You are Perfect. And you always have been. And every one of those Joys is REAL.

So, what will you choose?

Holly Lynch is a 20+ year ESG and DEI communications veteran, board member, strategist and investor who has helped individuals and companies tackle the toughest challenges, transitions and transformations in their worlds. Having survived countless life setbacks and two rounds with terminal cancer, while seeing the country-wide collapse of the systems and safety nets for the most vulnerable in and outside our communities, she is now shifting her life and career trajectories to focus on coaching and consulting with those facing down fundamental shifts and transitions as they try to adapt to change while rebuilding their lives and businesses during these unprecedented times.

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