Being Seen as Joyful

There is much suffering in the world.

I used to think that it was conscientious to suffer with the world. I am a sponge and I can feel other people’s feelings as if they are mine.  So I should soak up and suffer, help shoulder the burdens. It would be callous of me to be seen enjoying life, when so many others aren’t.

But as well-intentioned as my line of thinking was, I discovered a flaw in my logic.

My suffering does not make the world a better place. It’s only adding to the pool. I am setting a poor example for my children, for example. Do I not wish for them to be happy? If I joined the sufferers, who is going to provide the upward momentum, the energy needed to lift up the spirits?

I’d like to say that it was this moral uprightness that put a lid on how good of a time I can have. But in truth it was a fear. A fear that I would get called out for having too much fun. Rebuked for being uncaring. I don’t know where this fear comes from, but it is rooted deep in my body. My elbow used to hurt, trying to protect me from playing the guitar and enjoying it too much.

It took some daring to post the Dancing Naked in the Kitchen video yesterday. That sort of thing is dangerous to post. On one hand, that is really me in private. I rock out physically to music. My shirt is off in the summer, it somehow feels like I exist more fully when I am uncovered.

But as I thought about actually posting it, I felt warning pains in my lower back. The little Ari was scared and trying to protect me.

I posted it anyway. I want to show that I don’t take myself too seriously. I want to know that I can make myself seen while making a fool out of myself. I want to be real.

If you need someone to feel your pain and meet you where you are, I’ll be there for you. But I am going to stop adding to the pile, at least not unnecessarily. I am going to get better at having a good time, so that those who see me can feel a bit of what I’m feeling. I will share my joy, not because I am insensitive. It’s because I care. I will learn to stay on my boat, so that I can help those who are drowning.

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