Joy. Pain. Sunshine…and Rain
“All we need for joy
is to re-focus our gaze.”
This tweet from a brother-in-arts of mine has been simmering in my head since I first read it. I’m pretty clear on the joy part – joy is a lot like happiness, except it doesn’t go away. If I have an ice cream cone, I’m happy! If I then drop it, the happy is gone. But I still have just as much joy now at the memory of bottle-feeding my twin daughters as the moonlight silvered their innocent faces as I did then. In fact, probably more, since now I don’t have quite as much sleep deprivation.
Joy is harder to come by than happiness, in my experience, but lasts pretty much forever. It’s the slow-burning volcano rather than the quick flash of a firecracker.
But what exactly does that mean, “re-focus”?
For some reason, when I think about that I come back to St. Exupery’s “Little Prince”, who taught us that “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” So when we say re-focus, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to see more. “Re-“focus could just as easily be “De-“focus. Maybe looking a little less critically at the things which are stressing you, softening your gaze, letting the peripheral vision notice some of the color and wonder you weren’t seeing because of narrowed focus.
I’m not sure. It’s an imperfect metaphor, and I’m still not certain I have grokked in full the meaning of that original statement. But I am certain that the quality of our lives are directly impacted by our perception of them. So the ability to control the focus of your perception would, it seems to me, be one of the most important skills to improve the quality of your life.