Ecstasy in Living: Find Out What You Love

Ever since writing my book about joy, Champagne for the Soul, I’ve continued to collect quotes on the subject of joy. A while back I published a set of these quotes as a blog post. Now here’s a second installment:

“I find ecstasy in living—the mere sense of living is joy enough.” ~Emily Dickinson

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.” ~Walt Whitman

“Joy is never in our power, and pleasure is. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted joy would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasure in the world.” ~C.S. Lewis

“For me, joy always involves breaking out of myself toward someone else.” ~Mary Karr

“[The painter] Matisse had only one answer to everything, which was to persist in art that could be justified solely by joy.” ~Peter Schjeldahl

“Nothing is lasting in this world. Even joy begins to fade after only one minute. Two minutes later, and it is weaker still, until finally it is swallowed up in our everyday, prosaic state of mind, just as a ripple made by a pebble gradually merges with the smooth surface of the water.” ~Nikolai Gogol

“Joy is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes.” ~David Brooks

“The aim of psychoanalysis is to turn neurotic misery into ordinary human unhappiness.” ~Sigmund Freud

“A Christian is never bored or sad. Rather, the one who loves Christ is full of joy and radiates joy.” ~Pope Francis

“When I came into the country, and being seated among silent trees and meads and hills, had all my time in mine own hands, I resolved to spend it all, whatever it cost me, in search of happiness. For I came into this world only that I might be happy. And whatsoever it cost me, I will be happy. A happiness there is, and it is my desire to enjoy it. Nothing but felicity is worthy of our labour.” ~Thomas Traherne

“God knows everything about us. And He cares about everything. Moreover, He can manage every situation. And He loves us! Surely this is enough to open the wellsprings of joy. And joy is always a source of strength.” ~Hannah Whitall Smith

“In a long struggle to obtain something I wanted very much from God, I gradually learned to let go. Then one day, instead of praying for my cherished desire, or for God’s will to be done, I was inspired to ask for a heart of gratitude and joy. Never have I had a prayer so instantly answered. I was handed not what I had longed for but something better: all that I had imagined I would feel and become in possessing what I desired.” ~Loretta Ross-Gotta

Viktor Frankl, in Man’s Search for Meaning, tells the story of his experience in four Nazi death camps, including the liberation of his last camp. On that day all the prisoners went out of the camp to enjoy their first day of freedom in the wide world.
          “In the evening,” writes Frankl, “when we all met again in our hut, one said secretly to another, ‘Tell me, were you happy today?’ And the other replied, feeling ashamed as he did not know that we all felt similarly, ‘Truthfully, no!’ We had literally lost the ability to feel happy and had to relearn it slowly.”
          I might add that the same is true of many of us in our normal lives.

Finally, here’s a quote from one of my own books, Practicing the Presence of People: “You ask, ‘How can I be happy?’ But this is the wrong question. Instead ask, ‘How can I touch happiness with my little finger?’ You do not have joy because you see it as a large and impossible achievement, rather than something small, obvious, and do-able. ‘Find out what pleases the Lord,’ says the Bible (Eph. 5:10). The same goes for yourself. Find out what you love, richly and deeply in your own unique way, and spend time doing it. Try doing it for just one hour, and for once experience what it’s like to feel good, to be alive and curious, relaxed and at peace.” 

Next Post:  My Annual Christmas Story: The Trek to Bala

free ebook
Posted in Blog and tagged , , .