Everyday Joy

Caution: Possible ear worm ahead, but not to worry.
The antidote  follows!

The other day I finally got around to organizing all my drum music and discovered I had more than I realized and needed a couple more binders and sheet protectors to contain it all. So I dropped what I was doing and drove into town, to Kmart (it’s the only game in the rural coastal community I live in) to pick up my supplies, hoping all along they’d have what I wanted. You never know around here.

It was after three o’clock, a school day, and the place was packed with parents and their elementary school aged kids who, for whatever reason, decided Kmart was the place to be after school. The entire town. All at the same time.

Overhead, in-store music played a variety of classic rock — You Make Loving Fun (Fleetwood Mac), In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel), Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin) — yeah, baby! I made my way past the Halloween candy and Christmas decorations (help me never get used to seeing them on the shelves at the same time) to the office supplies. I found the binders and sheet protectors (both were on sale!) and made my way through the store, dodging moms and dads pushing red shopping carts full of  towels, pillows, clothes, food, toiletries, what have you, while their children hopped, skipped, and danced in tight orbits around the carts, like diminutive energetic moons circling the mother ship.

The lines at the cash registers were uncharacteristically long and slow. Nevertheless, the mood of the shoppers and the employees was holiday-esque, festive. Smiles, laughter, and the giggles of children punctuated the carefree conversations of the adults. The awesome background music played on, above the high mood of adult voices and the sweet aura of young enthusiasm.

Queen finishes Crazy Little Thing Called Love and another song begins. Piano notes — high, tinkling, the draw of a bow on soft strings, the mood turns sad:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
     Not a footprint to be seenFrozen Mtn
     A kingdom of isolation
     And it looks like I’m the queen
     The wind is howling
     Like this swirling storm inside
     Couldn’t keep it in
     Heaven knows I tried

Yes, it’s Let It Go, from Frozen. Nice song, nice sentiment, but oh boy, it’s a giant ear worm. Despite that, the mood in the store approaches epic proportions, so I decide to get into the song now and take the antidote later, when I get to my car. I let it be. The Snow Queen Elsa continues her lament:

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
                    Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feelFrozen-Elsa-Snow-Queen-Palace-wide-i
Don’t let them know
Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door 

Now piano, the swell of strings and emotion:

I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway

Adults and children in the store hum along, some adults continue their chatting, some children hop around and dance while a confident Elsa, comfortable in her skin, continues her song:

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem smallFrozen
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free!

Let it go, let it go
          I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway

Although the checkout lines move forward imperceptibly and the lines get longer, everyone is still jovial. Long lines don’t matter. Cheerful voices and delighted laughter pervade, the song plays on, and I am marinating in the scene around me. Not quite part of it, not quite apart from it, observing with physical and inner eyes, letting it lift me.

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystalllizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back
The past is in the past

Here comes the soaring final chorus, and the volume of the humming voices at the checkout lanes increases to match:Flake

Let it go! Let it go!
And I’ll rise like the break of      dawn
Let it go! Let it go!
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on!

The music recedes, making way for the final line of the song. But it isn’t Elsa I hear articulating that line. In the silence between the previous line and this last — while the storm rages on! — tucked unremarkably between the notes — is a knowing that something extraordinary is about to happen. I felt it, as surely as I sensed the rhythm of my own heart and the whisper of my breath, the impulse of miraculous life.

All else in the store becomes silent, as if the gods had just cued the innocents into being. The beep beeping of sales registers hush, the adult conversation ceases, fussy children still. Even the silence went silent to make way for what was about to happen. And this, dear friends, is what happened:

[MrTelasm] 107 Vladstudio 2560x1600 WallpapersThe children in the store — the kids at the checkouts and the children sprinkled throughout the rest of the building — rose as one voice, drowning out Queen Elsa. In a chorus of purity and sincerity with the energy and power that creates worlds, the children proclaimed their truth:

The cold never bothered me anyway

And it was over. The song was done. A quick moment of silence pierced reality. The adults had retreated and knew to let the children carry the last line, but now their chatter and activity resumed.

However, the beginning of a new story began to form in my head. Unencumbered by the need to take care of children and return to the bustling world of retail, my spirit was free to process and consider the heights of what had just happened. My chakras whirred and spun and wove the threads of the children’s sweet innocence into a metaphysical tapestry supported by the willingness of the adults to let the children be, frozen chakrato ride the children’s spontaneity and exuberance to what is most certainly a less frequently traveled path to joy. This is the type of joy we could have every day if only we were willing to live in the moment, in the now, if we knew how to get there. This was the path — to let it be, to let life unfold, to let it happen.

Can you feel the delight in living? The energy of enthusiasm? The spirit of elation and bliss and ecstasy? The pleasure in not knowing what will happen next? Can you feel it in the cells of your arms and legs, heart and lungs and in your gut? The everyday joy hidden in front of our faces? This is how we’re meant to live. Can you feel it? Can you?

I take a deep breath and approach the cashier. It’s my turn now at the register. A dreamy me, a shakened and tranced-out me swipes the credit card, picks up my new binders and sheet protectors, walks to the car, gets in, and plays the song over in my head:

Satisfied and grounded, I drive home, singing the song that annihilates ear worms:

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