Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • The gloom of the world is but a shadow;
    behind it, yet within our reach, is Joy.

    Fra Giovanni

    (Note: At a time when there is great sorrow in our land, it seems healing to focus on joy and brighten things up a bit. En-joy!)

    Leonardo da Vinci wrote that he “Trembled with joy as he got out of bed and walked to his studio, to work on paintings. I have always been impressed with this. Think of it! To be so excited about the day’s work, that you tremble with joy.

    There is an idea to take seriously here, and I call it “put joy first.”

    Instead of starting my day with tasks I have been dreading, and even putting off, instead of doing the difficult and tedious things first, I now start with those activities which fill me with joy when I wake up. I let thinking about these activities put wings on my feet and warm up my soul as I move into the morning.

    Making this my practice has changed my life, from the inside out. Joy has energy, buoyancy, lift, momentum, and it is joy that paves the way for more creativity and effectiveness in everything I do.

    What generates joy each day?

    Maybe one day my greatest joy is in writing first thing, while it is still dark outside, a small candle burning, a cup of green tea on my desk. Or, joy may be found in reading and savoring passages from the Bible and other sacred texts, or listening to some Mozart. Maybe another day I find joy in the perfect stillness of meditation until I feel filled with radiant peace. Still another day, my joy may be in finding, or creating, the perfect artwork or photo to illustrate a poem. And joy can come from something as simple as writing a note of gratitude to a friend or colleague. Joy appears in many forms, but it is always instantly recognizable, immediately felt in the body and spirit. It is light, luminous, friendly, welcoming, inspiring. And it wants to be shared.

    Joy cannot be contained.

    So I recommend this practice of putting joy first in the day to you, to test for yourself. Discover the difference it makes. In fact, don’t let yourself out of bed until you feel overcome with happiness and joy about how you will start your day. You might even take notes of all the joyful things that you want to accomplish before you start in on the ‘ten thousand things’ that we all must do to maintain our lives.

    Clearly, it worked for Leonardo, one of the most prolific creative wayfinders the world has ever known, and I guess I finally got it: putting joy first could work for me, too.

    And it does!

    Leonardo wrote that “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” To which I would add:” And the understanding of joy is the noblest pleasure.”


    (Digital Art in APS by Alex)
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.