Joy Resources



  • Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy – Barbara Ehrenreich
  • The Book of Joy – Daila Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Abrams
  • Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness – Ingrid Fetell Lee
  • Joy is an Inside Job: 12 timeless secrets for abundance, radiant health and lifelong happiness – Amanda Gore
  • The Power of Joy: How the Deliberate Pursuit of Pleasure Can Heal Your Life – Christiane Northrup M.D.
  • World Dance: A Joyful Path to Free Movement and Personal Growth – Roberta Meilleur


Ted Talks

Resource suggestions?

If you’re aware of resources that enhance, increase, or explain joy, you’re welcome to add them to this page.

AS A QUALITY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF CONSCIOUS AWARENESS, Final Thesis for the Conferment of Masters of Education, University of Toronto, Linda S McLean, 1998In 1998, I submitted a final thesis and received a Masters of Education. The paper was a compilation of three years of study into the relationship of joy and creativity and the development of conscious awareness. I began with a discussion of terms and concepts of how we develop a personal relationship with creativity and followed the survey of literature with an argument asserting that political and social organizations have attached negative connotations to our individual creativity. The third section was a short narrative revealing my personal experience of creative self-recovery.
While I adhered to the rules and requirements of a rigorous academic thesis, I found that in order to connect the dots of my findings I needed to move outside of an analysis of statistics into probabilities and move into an expression of intuition and what was resonating as true. To remain ‘objective’ meant flattening and limiting the reality that creativity, joy and conscious awareness are, in fact, entirely personal and subjective. Now, more than two decades later, I find there is more than ever a need that we be reminded to acknowledge our experience, especially of joy, to know it, take responsibility for it and to be able to choose it whenever we want!
Perhaps reading this will help you to free yourself to create your own concept of joy, to find your own feelings and become aware of what joy is for you. If you want to try, I suggest you turn your attention to your breath, recall a moment when you were in a state of unbridled joy. Remember how it felt in your body, mind and soul. Imagine what it would be like to feel that memory in the present moment. Remember the experience and feel it now, where joy exists in your body. Breathe in the memory, breathe in the moment, give it a few words to describe it, a few images, smells, whatever sensory device works for you. This is your personal experience of joy, yours to have and to hold now and forever more.

“The return to joy is a journey inward. It is a movement of our attention to the centre of our consciousness. It is a return to that central place where our personal myths and symbols are created. It is the world of imago where our individual experience is made visible through our awareness. It is a return to the place where knowing is centred in our feelings, the place we live simultaneously in spirit and matter. The return to joy is that relationship with our inner world that ties us to our personal wisdom, a world where truth is felt and led by intuition, our whispers, the knowing that resides in what I call divinity, spirit, essence or my higher self. I cannot tell another what my joy feels like, although my experience of it is felt profoundly. Similarly, I cannot tell another how the experience of creativity is to be felt. I can describe a process which encourages the experiences of joy and creativity, but the experience I can only know in my ‘self’, that invisible part referred to by ancient mystics and modern psychologists as ‘consciousness.
The process of knowing my ‘self’ is the process of developing conscious awareness. As I become aware of my personal images, symbols and responses, I am in a relationship with my ‘self’. As I deepen this relationship, I learn how to seek and achieve experiences of joy and creativity.
Joy is a quality of experience and relational in essence to creativity. We can make a conscious choice to engage the feeling of joy. On the other hand, the experience can be an unconscious response arising from a circumstance or the triggering of a joyful memory. In either case, I have found the activity of engaging in my personal creativity is a way to experience a sense of joy.
Finally, I have found in my personal and professional experience that it is possible to experience joy by focusing on present moment awareness. Mindfulness on ‘what is’ frees us from negative thought patterns developed in or from past experiences, and from fear of what may be in the future. Mindfulness brings our awareness to the present and offers a way to let go of past and future concerns. As we become conscious of our thoughts we develop the opportunity to make choices in our life. The choices we make in present moment consciousness are those which bring us closer to the state of experiencing real joy.

Joy is a choice. It is a choice we make based on our perception. We become aware of our perceptions as we study ourselves. Through self-study, we develop self-awareness. Self-awareness brings us closer to our ability to choose joy. Self-awareness requires openness and spontaneity as well as focus and intention. Becoming aware is the process of developing a loving relationship with our inner world. We need to fall in love with our inner world, and allow our thoughts and ideas to be transformed by what we discover.This is the return to joy; the relationship we develop with our inner world is the way to transform our habits and belief systems, to be responsive, to be spontaneous in our own way.
Joy is in us as part of our gamut of internal experiences. Joy is a quality of perception, a way of experiencing each moment. Joy is a guiding principle, an approach to life, a feeling that can be carried from moment to moment, a thought held in the mind. The experience of joy, therefor, is a choice. To experience joy, we choose to experience joy.
The return to joy can be seen in many different forms. Joy is a subjective experience, which may occur in complex and multifold ways, unique to each of us. Joy may be experienced in any moment. Each person experiences joy in their own way. In other words, each person has their own relationship as well as their own concept of joy. It is up to each of us, and further, it is our responsibility to experience joy.”
Linda S. McLean

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