Quicken: Appreciating the Physiology Behind Joy–Day 11 of Getting Dressed


I began studying
And making choices to
Embrace joy
In early February because
My life depended on it.
Now, March 1, I can say that
I have begun to feel
Positibe effects.
Minutes cascade
Into rounded waterfalls
Over rocky edges.
The flow can be freeing,

Even so, anxiety
A force of my nature
Is alive and well inside
And still finds me.

An unpleasant interaction
With a loved one,
Technology glitches that
Preclude me from using an app to
Apply for jobs, taken by others
Within seconds of release,
And therefore lost to me,
Significant rib pain–
Whatever substantial
Or minute reason
I choose to point to,
Fear and nerves want to
Grip and seize.

My heart’s beat
And breath quicken,
An exposed mouse
Sure of approaching danger
Skittering across the floor
In sheer panic
To get under cover
To safety.

My stiffened body
Floods my mind with
Defeating thoughts as
I’m hurdled down
From joy perches
So easily,

So much available advice
Deals primarily with tackling the
Mental aspects of
Being happy because the
Mind controls perception,
After all.

“Replace negative thoughts
With positive ones”, type
Recommendations float
Around everywhere,
Pollen spores in spring.

For someone like me
Built for “flight”, however, a
Sleek 747 speeding through
Well established
Neurological routes
Across stormy chemistry
I’ve found that
Joy begins in the body,
Not the mind,
And can only permeate a
Supple, willing membrane
Almost limp with a kind of
Submission to receive
Before any of that
“Mindfulness business” will make
Any sense at all.

Maintaining joyful feelings
Requires vigilant
Physiological response monitoring
As much as,
If not more than
Psychological changes.

Through body management,
I’ve learned I can grab
Rising anxiety by the horns
To throw the scent off me
Capping the potential of
Misery’s force and power to
Rule me,
Define my day
My week
Or year for that matter.

That becoming “dumb”
With slow motion movements,
Soft turns
Gentle pacing,
Enables me to physically
Calm myself first so
I can experience moments
In diffuse candlelight
Instead of under
Harsh fluorescent glare.
Then, I’m better able
To determine what,
If anything,
I need to say or do next
In a more measured way,
At least a lot more
Often than before.

Suspended in time and space,
A kind of muted jello absorption,
Adopting snailed body gestures
Takes practice,
Constant doing
Especially during
Rough circumstances.
Smiles, kindness and
Positive feelings come
So much easier
During good, smooth tidings,
After all.

Embracing joy is an
Intentioned marathon
Filled with runners highs
And moments of slipped collapse
But appears worth the mileage.



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