I read this short essay last weekend and it is still rolling around in my heart.
Choose it like a child chooses the shoe to put on the right foot, the crayon to paint a sky.
Choose it at first consciously, effortfully, pressing against the weight of a world heavy with reasons for sorrow, restless with need for action.
Feel the sorrow, take the action, but keep pressing the weight of joy against it all, until it becomes mindless, automated, like gravity pulling the stream down its course; until it becomes an inner law of nature.
If Victor Frankl can exclaim "yes to life, in spite of everything" -- and what an everything he lived through -- then so can any of us amid the rubble of our plans, so trifling by comparison.
Joy is not a function of a life free of friction and frustration, but a function of focus -- an inner elevation by the fulcrum of choice.
So often, it is a matter of attending to what Hermann Hesse called, as the world was about to come unworlded by its first global war, "the little joys"; so often, those are the slender threads of which we weave a lifeline that saves us.
Delight in the age-salted man on the street corner waiting for the light to change, his age-salted dog beside him, each inclined toward the other with the angular subtlety of absolute devotion.
Delight in the little girl zooming past you on her little bicycle, this fierce emissary of the future, rainbow tassels waving from her handlebars and a hundred beaded braids spilling from her golden helmet.
Delight in the snail taking an afternoon to traverse the abyssal crack in the sidewalk for the sake of pasturing on a single blade of grass.
Delight in the tiny new leaf, so shy and so shamelessly lush, unfurling from the crooked stem of the parched geranium.
I think often of this verse from Jane Hirshfield's splendid poem "The Weighing";
So few grains of happiness
measured against all the dark
and still the scales balance.
Yes, except we furnish both the grains and the scales. I alone can weigh the blue of my sky, you of yours.(Maria Popova - The Marginalian newsletter)