It's a glorious Sunday morning one of those amazing, bright sunny spring mornings with a heavy dew on the grass that is so uplifting. I was reading the latest draft of the summer issue of Lifewide Magazine. Each of the articles seemed to be expressing in some way the joy of what I was feeling and when I started to look more deeply it seemed to me that all the pieces were connected by this theme of joy but in what way is it related to lifewide learning? So where do our community members find joy?
For Anna Vartapetiance, joy was found in tackling the challenge of coming to live in the UK from another country and the joy of learning and adapting to enjoy another culture and the opportunities that living on a multicultural campus brings.
For Nick Jackson -who 'always tries to look on the bright side of life', joy is to be found in discovering that his commitment to developing and continually trying to improve a broad range of skills and interests, is his secret of success and personal fulfilment.
For school teacher Peter Rhodes joy was in discovering a new way of engaging his pupils so that they discovered the joy in their own learning and personal achievement. Joy was also found in the accomplishment of pupils in a primary school who created and performed a magical mystery tour assembly for their fellow pupils and teachers.
For Joevas Asare, an ambassador for lifewide education, joy comes from pursuing his passion to be a successful rap singer (called J Peace) and working with talented people in the music business to learn from them and become a better musician.
And for Harvard Professors Joe Blatt and Chris Dede joy is realised by helping to change the way education utilises the diverse range of communication technologies so that more students experience the rich pleasure of learning and what they call the 'joygap' is closed.
While for our featured artist, Kiboko HachiYon, his joy is realised in turning abstract ideas into images that help people recognise and celebrate the deeper meanings in life.
I began to appreciate that joy was an important part of the lives of all the people in our community who were contributing stories from their life. By contributing to the Magazine they were really sharing some of the joy in their lives and in doing so they are encouraging other people to recognise the joy in their own lives
It seems to me that joy is within us as we experience the everyday incidents of life but that it originates in achieving or trying to accomplish the things we value ....It involves feelings of happiness but happiness can be related to a transient pleasurable experience. Joy is deeper, more profound and sustained than happiness because it affects the spirit of who we are. And because it's a state of mind rather than a state of body it has the potential to continue to affect what we do because it is part of who we are and who we want to become. The sense of exuberance and empowerment that fills us seems to infect everything - as the young people in the photo are doing (a photo I love so much that I used it on the cover of my book) we literally jump for joy because the emotion affects us physically
So perhaps joy is an achievement, an achieved state of mind that helps us see and interpret and enact our everyday experiences as we interact with the world around us. This is the lifedeep side of learning- the deeper spiritual meanings of living and being aware. I was curious to know what other people felt joy was and both my children saw it as being something deeper than mere happiness.
I googled and I was struck by how many of the websites I found that discussed joy had a religious or spiritual context. Here is one the explanations I liked.
Trying to define joy is like drinking water from one hand. You can only capture a bit at a time. It is more than happiness, more than contentment, more than gratitude, though they all are certainly components of joy. Joy is a feeling, but it is also an attitude toward life. Abraham Lincoln said “most people are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” The same could be said of joy. Most of us are just as joyful as we decide we are going to be.
It is hard to always, and in every circumstance, find things to appreciate, to enjoy and, even sometimes, to find hope for the future. There can be crushing experiences in health, employment or relationships. What brings us through them? It is the splashes of joy that cross our lives....In joy we find gratitude, happiness and hope for the future. Sometimes those splashes seem random, sometimes they come from others but they lift us up. And then we can lift others.
So I'm convinced that joy is something that relates to the lifedeep dimension of lifewide and lifelong learning
A Pinch of Joy website