Find the Joy Anyway

(from Within My Illusions)

He said, “Your job when you leave this room
is to not deny what’s happening in your life.
Whatever shit is hitting the fan at any given moment,
whatever pain or pressure you might feel, feel it.
And find the joy anyway.”

There comes a moment
in every cycle class
when the room goes dark
and my heart becomes more
than the transport organ for my blood.
I become the one transported,
opening to wisdom and insight,
clarity and focus.

After the hard work is done:
the fastest sprint
the highest climb,
the tests of strength and endurance,
we ride in a strange sort of silence
created by the steady bass line
of electronic music
and a few words offered by our instructor.

Often I am alone in my own zone.
Sometimes I compose verse in my mind.
And once in a while I hear words that penetrate.
“Find the joy anyway.”

Easy to say, but on days
when tears burn the backs of my eyes
it can be harder to remember
that finding joy is not a matter of searching
like a child on Easter morning
for transient treasures
contained in plastic eggshells.

It’s more like traveling the yellow brick road
and discovering gifts in the wandering,
that there can be laughter
in the moments between tears,
hope beneath fears,
a chance to shift gears and see
a little differently.

And maybe, just maybe, realize
that the joy was inside me all along.