What’s Happened to the Joy of Life?

Work is something of a dread for many of us. We generally see it as a box to tick and something that we must get through to get by in life. We sometimes even think of being in another job or position within the company or someplace else and convince ourselves that will bring back the spark to what we do. We may even seek to undertake jobs that we know in the past brought us some satisfaction, such as turning a hobby into a fulltime career: for some this seems to work well but unless we are living a fullness of joy in whatever we do, we seek reward and or satisfaction instead and then, are we living less than what we could in life?

Let me explain. Life ought not to be mundane. We are not here on Earth to plainly exist and this certainly does not make sense to why we would be here and the potential we all know in our hearts we can bring to life. So many of us know innately – especially when we are young – that there is so much potential in us to live. Not necessarily for what we can do and what we may become, but more so for the simple joy of experiencing ourselves, that is our true selves, in whatever we do.

I have witnessed joy in so many children for doing the simplest of tasks, from tying their shoelaces to even going to the toilet or going for a walk. These basic tasks may seem boring to many as just part of living, but these same children grow up to be adults one day saying just the same thing as most of humanity in claiming that these tasks they once found great joy in doing are now just part of everyday existence.  

So where does this joy go?

Is it hiding under the sink? Or under the bed? Or what about tucked away in an attic somewhere? It does not just disappear simply because we get older and get too grown up for seeing joy and playfulness in these simple tasks. Sure an assignment or work project may have many dollars riding on its importance of being completed, but this does not make it necessarily more important than enjoying the wonders of tying your shoes for example.

These projects, complexities and apparently greater aspects of life do not need to take precedence over the quality of our being, especially how we feel within ourselves. I know that it can be hard to see the joys in the simple things in life when you have just failed a big test, exam or project, or even do not know how to complete one of these. Even if you don’t have such projects of importance in your life anymore, it does not mean that at some point in your life you have not been affected by life placing such pressures on you.

What we do generally when these pressures are placed on us is we tend to react because they are often given to us in such a way that makes us feel that we have not been met or seen for who we are first. Life then seems more important than the quality of our being and suddenly that joy we innately know is seemingly less important than anything else in this world. After all, you are not going to pass a test or exam purely based on whether you feel joy-full in yourself or not.

We tend to check out from ourselves and our body and see the mind as king in this world and our body as runner-up to anything else.

But what if this form of behaviour is in fact what is causing us to feel that the joy in our day is gone? The key difference between how we live as adults and how we live as children is our level of connection with ourselves and our body. Perhaps what the key to experiencing joy again in our day, at even the smallest and seemingly insignificant things such as tying our shoelaces, is about being present again in our body in the moment and feeling that we can be totally and absolutely embracing of whatever that moment offers us.

What if life is just that simple, yet our heads acting on their own have made even the smallest of issues more complex than they ought to be?

You are probably thinking right now that this is crazy talk, as how can our body have any intelligence at all, especially considering it is the mind that seems to make this world tick… or is it?

Does the mind even care about the body it lives in when it is living in disconnection from it? A classic example is not going to the toilet when needed – whilst the body skids and squirms in its seat, shouting at an ignorant mind it is in obedience to. I can remember doing this so much at school because I was not always allowed to go to the toilet when I needed to or I felt embarrassed so I would not go and would often almost have seat-bum-burns from having to skid around holding on in my seat too much!

Indeed when we are in disconnection from our body and then reconnect back to it, we do feel the ugliness of how we have really been treating it. But what if there is a joy of being with you in your whole body and not just in your mind. It would certainly mean you don’t have to worry about that project due tomorrow, or the cat having to see the vet next Tuesday or having to pick your mum’s washing up from the dry cleaners this Saturday, whilst you squeeze in a mountain of work due before this weekend all whilst washing the dishes!

So could this indeed be the simple answer to our lack of lustre and vivaciousness in life?

I know for me this is in fact the case. Going from hard out study-o-holic to living the absolutely delicious man I am, all I have changed is my own relationship with my body and hence with myself, learning more about myself and how I have been living that has not always been in line with my body’s truth.

Could this be your truth too?

For me it all started with a simple use of the Gentle Breath Meditation™, and this was inspiration enough to change my whole life. The Gentle Breath Meditation™ was introduced to me by Universal Medicine and is a very simple, practical way of re-connecting with ourselves and our body. It is available in many forms depending on what is needed by you in that moment.

By Joshua Campbell, 25, Software Developer, Belgium

Further Reading:
Being Still – With Joy
The Joy of Gentle Exercise
The Illusion of Happiness – Finding the Joy Within

718 thoughts on “What’s Happened to the Joy of Life?

  1. The mind/brain is seen as the control centre that dictates the body. That’s a sure fire path to being miserable. Seeing the mind as a receptionist of all the bodies messages makes more sense. As the body receives information from outside and from within. The mind is the messenger to the being within the body about what the body is feeling, not the dictator.

  2. The whole grass is greener on the other side scenario ‘We sometimes even think of being in another job or position within the company or someplace else and convince ourselves that will bring back the spark to what we do.’ From experience I know this one. In a previous job I decided to, instead of not wanting to be there, be there with all of me committing 100%. It completely changed everything, how I was feeling, how I felt in the environment, the environment and relationships. Then when it was right to complete my time there and move on the next job was amazing .. more purpose, more love, more joy and more passion. It really is down to us and the way we are with everything.

  3. The joy of life is ready to be re-claimed at any point in any environment. I have recently re-discovered it at work in the most unlikely of circumstances. I have been doing a temporary managing role in an industry where I have routinely avoided managing for the last twenty years and I’m discovering that I’m feeling joyful whilst doing the very things that I had convinced myself that I didn’t want to do. Even things like ‘performance management’ have a delight about them because I am finding a way to do them that is neither heavy or emotional and a way that ultimately is supporting others to evolve.

  4. ‘Work is something of a dread for many of us. We generally see it as a box to tick and something that we must get through to get by in life.’ To me this says if we see our work as this then it would mean we pretty much see life like this – a tick-box or something we have to ‘get through’ and of course if this is how we are feeling then how is there going to be space for joy? I have a deeper understanding now that each moment and how we are in it affects the next moment. So if we feel this way about work or life and do not change anything, well then nothing is going to change! From experience I don’t think there has been a time when I have ever dreaded work, as I love a routine and also love people, but what I have noticed is when I changed my work to doing something I am really passionate about and makes my heart sing, working with young people, then every day became the same and I no longer see it as Monday – Friday and ‘then the weekends’. It is more One Life and feels so lovely and very freeing.

  5. I saw a message the other day someone had written on a sign so everyone driving past would see it. Is said ‘don’t live to work, work to live’ .. I wanted to write beside it ‘or have purpose in both!’ What I really appreciate is how for years I no longer have the week and weekend feeling, the Monday morning ‘meh’ or the Friday afternoon YAY. My life feels more at one than it ever has, and every moment is equally important as the next, sure I may prefer certain aspects of it to others but as you say in all of this our body and relationship with our body is the key. Something I am still and will be forever learning and deepening.

  6. I love this ‘We are not here on Earth to plainly exist and this certainly does not make sense to why we would be here and the potential we all know in our hearts we can bring to life.’ Taking a step back to feel the far bigger picture and to step out of the self created boxes we put ourselves in. A great reminder ✨

  7. Joshua what your blog does is cut through the complexity and heaviness of adult life, it offers the reminder that how we were as children is not so far away, and the simplicity of such a natural way of being is the answer to bringing joy and vitality back to life.

  8. It makes sense. If we are disconnected from our innate essence and body then how can we feel true joy. We can spend lives looking for ourselves outside but the truth and simplicity is all we have to do is look and connect within. A great reminder ✨ And the Gentle Breath Meditation is a super simple and practical tool to do this.

  9. Maybe this is where we have gone astray in our society, the fact that we put more emphasis on exams that are all about retaining knowledge and all that this produces, then feeling joy in our bodies so that whatever we do feels easy and attainable, with that feeling of it’s great to be alive. I see many older people and they are worn out and dissatisfied with the life they have had, and die feeling cheated somehow because it wasn’t the life they had wanted.

    1. YES! What if we make having joy in our bodies a steady consistency and priority before anything else. Like we would feel awesome .. and so be up for bringing anything that is needed (with joy) to be done blasting misery and drudgery right out the door 👉 Lets do it 👏👏✨

  10. This is an interesting blog because as I read it I realised that for many of us there is no joy in life. We see life as being monotonous, something to get through, and to support us to get through it we give ourselves rewards whether it be in the form of sport, food, holidays, drink, drugs. The list is endless as we seek to numb ourselves from the drudgery that we call life. I met someone recently who was telling me about their amazing holiday and how they cannot wait for the next one. This is what I mean; we are living for the next holiday which is a relief of everyday life.

    1. Yes it is in our conversations everyday and sometimes the way we express this is by autopilot and not even stopping to feel ‘hey that is not how I feel’. I recently went away and didn’t dread going back to work at all, in fact I was really looking forward to it ✨

  11. The joy of life is still there – we can always stop measuring how much of us we show to the world and the joy flows through us.

  12. There is huge potential in us to live and the way I am finding is to be true to me and not to live aligned to something or someone that lives in comfort, or is held by beliefs determining their way.

  13. “The simple joy of experiencing ourselves, that is our true selves, in whatever we do’ has been the missing ingredient in my life. I know that this needs to be refined even further. As the joy I saw and observed last week, is not the same joy I saw and felt this week, it is forever evolving – that’s what we need to tap into.

    1. I agree with you Shushila, I feel that we do tap into a flow or rhythm, and within this there is a natural joy that can be felt. It is in the smallest of things like tying shoes laces, there is a simple joy in this task because it is me tying them.

  14. There isn’t anyone telling the adults that they can re-connect back to the joy that they once had as a child and that such things are not foolish, as many would have us believe.

    1. Society seems to constantly confirm the opposite: that the joy, sensitivity and deep connection with our body as well as everything around us experienced as a child was because we were a child and growing up means abandoning all of that and becoming serious and hard. Discussions such as inspired by this blog are so very useful, just as anyone who chooses to reflect that “such things in adult life are not foolish” is precious.

      1. I agree with what you have to say Golnaz, what we experience as children that connection to our bodies and surroundings gets squashed or pushed to one side as society insists we have to grow up and compete in the dog eat dog world we have all contributed to. But by doing this we lose that valuable connection that could support us to keep steady as we grow up. How about as a society we adults get behind the next generation of children to support them to stay connected to themselves as they grow up and let’s see if this has a positive or negative impact on our world. We have nothing to lose and perhaps everything to gain?

    2. No but there are people in the world living this and reflection counts ✨So although there is no-one ‘telling’ adults they can re-connect back to the joy that they once had as a child (and lets be honest who likes to be ‘told’ something!) if people around the world are actually claiming this back and living this way, then the beautiful thing is, the ripple affect will be felt across the entire world giving others the opportunity to do the same. Sometimes that is the beauty of actions and no words ✨

  15. Working with people with learning, mental, physical, profound and multiple disabilities on paper sounds like a really tough job but I absolutely love it. I’ve never had so much fun in a job before and this lightness with the work is down to my connection with my body. Working this all out from my head would be a nightmare.

  16. Thankfully my son is a bit of a clown in a natural way – he can find light and fun in most situations. Of course he is very capable of dragging his feet and whining and making life look like a chore, but overall, when he is himself he is always cracking jokes and helping us all to see the light side of things. You don’t have to have this to get through life, but it sure helps and makes things so much more enjoyable!

  17. Children are a great example of how to keep expressing the joy and zest for life that is in natural abundance within. As adults, we can often get ‘worn down’ by life and so we can end up being way too serious, but this seriousness serves no one. Life has many stresses and challenges and so humour, joy and lightness is the antidote to feeling heavy and burdened about things – not done in a forced way but in a way that allows you to see the lightness in all situations.

  18. It is about loving what you do no matter what you do, for the love of the action comes not from the action but from within.

  19. I really love this; ‘I have witnessed joy in so many children for doing the simplest of tasks’ This joy doesn’t get switched off when it is a so called mundane task, this joy is there in putting on pyjamas, in putting the rubbish out – children can show us how we can be at work – joyful and ourselves, without all of the seriousness that we so often go to work with.

    1. I feel as we get older we should all be assigned a young child in our life, as they reflect back to us what is missing in life; the sheer joy of being alive. I know that a lot of adults have children, but do we really appreciate them for all that they bring to the world? Or do we now view them as a burden and so lose sight of their magnificence.

  20. I can get too bogged in the everyday things and forget the true joy that is bubbling inside just waiting to be released…Ok, now I need to go and practice this! 😉

  21. I have just started a new job and am so enjoying reviewing my relationship with work; reflecting back on the times I have worked under the consciousness of work being a chore and burden. I can honestly say I absolutely love my work, all that it offers and the opportunities to learn and understand more about all of us and life.

  22. I love the playfulness of this it reminds me of playing hide and seek with a little one ‘So where did the joy go? Is it hiding under the sink? Or under the bed? Or what about tucked away in an attic somewhere?’ Another great example of how Joy as well as Love and Truth is not outside of us but inside us and always has been just waiting there for us to find it and connect with it ✨

  23. “The key difference between how we live as adults and how we live as children is our level of connection with ourselves and our body.”- well said. So simple yet so powerful. So many of our ‘issues’ can be explained in this simple sentence. It is then up to us to build up that level of connection as adults that was innate in us as children.

  24. Joy is such a normal thing for little kids. In fact, we know something is wrong with kids if they are not vibrant and joyful. So, it’s a good question to ask ourselves where the joy went as we grew up and why/how we allowed it to leave. I see people at work who are focussed or dedicated but rarely do I see or feel joy. Why don’t we ask each other ‘what’s up’ as we would ask a child?

    1. I love what you have shared here Fiona – and the reality is that we could go up to almost all adults (including us) and ask ‘what’s up’. In fact awareness of how we are feeling is the beginning of starting to shift things! But on the same token, true joy is something that bubbles up from the inside and is not a facade and is not an effort, which is good to know as sometimes we shift into this false sense of looking joyful like playing a role. No role playing with the real joy that is busting to come out when we are connected to ourselves.

  25. This year I started to study again. One of the subjects is Anatomy of the human body. For the very first time in my life I’m feeling joy to learn at school. Studying was never something interesting but a work that bothered me. So what has changed? Now I’m learning to study honouring my body and not pushing it to complete a task, I’m finding a greater purpose in doing that because I can enjoy bringing a new level of care and dedication, not just in my study time but in whatever I do along my day. I’m listening and allowing myself to enjoy and to give space to my curiosity to relearn about the body from my body, which feels amazing.

    Discovering how the cells works was quite revealing for example. They are very connected with each other and perfectly balanced. A great example of how a teamwork from a company, school, hospital…could be. Each one knowing their specific task, very committed with their purpose with no delay or hesitation. When we open up to what’s in our bodies we may realize how much greatness, order and love there is inside. From the tiniest cell that represents a whole universe, very connected with all.

    1. I can feel the joy and enthusiasm you have for this and it is inspiring me to start a course too, one that has been on hold for some time. Often we think something is going to be too much, take up too much time etc but these things sort themselves out once we commit and get started – I have found this to be true so many times.

      1. I agree Elaine, we keep ourselves in contraction because we perceive that something is going to be too hard in some way, that it’s going to disturb the status quo, basically that it’s going to disrupt our comfortable ways. Recently I took a job that involved between two and three hours travelling a day, I didn’t stop to work out how I was going to fit it into my week, I just said ‘yes’. Well it’s turned out to be the most life changing decision of my entire life. I managed, with the help of my family, to still keep everything else going and now have been given a position that is only 25 minutes from home. Things have turned out unbelievably well but I never would have got to this point had I not just said ‘yes’ without worrying about the detail. The details were taken care of for me by way of me just saying ‘yes’.

  26. Studing, working, living, playing, having fun and enjoying. Learning, loving, singing and appreciating life for the school that is. Could all of these activities be all in one? Definitely yes 🙂

  27. I have come to see so clearly that my mind has been a master of joy-less complication, and the more complicated the better, as then the joy that is naturally part of my life has to fight to be felt. But finally letting go of the need to be mind driven and instead listening to the wisdom of my body, the joy has all the space it needs to be present and to be felt.

  28. Thanks for the reminder. There is so much joy in us to tap into. We just seem to have left it whilst growing older as if life is harder and more serious when you are a grown-up. I recently have rediscovered the Joy of Joy in my life. It makes everything so much lighther and fun including the connections with others I meet and work with.

  29. “For me it all started with a simple use of the Gentle Breath Meditation™, and this was inspiration enough to change my whole life” – yes our breath and its quality breathes forth the type of life we are living.

  30. Watching children and their absolute delight in the, what might seem, most insignificant things is a joy and I agree the joy of life can still be there, if we choose to find or reconnect to that part within us which we seem to discard as we become adults.

  31. My son makes changing the giant duvet cover such fun that everyone else wants to hold an edge and join in. The word chore sounds a bore, but it doesn’t have to be when we appreciate what we bring to everything.

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