We often pair with happiness the notions of seeking it, of finding it, of discovering the meaning of it. Thus the pursuit of the aforementioned becomes the focus of the emotion, an –ing verb, rather than a feeling that rests in the present tense, in the present moment. And then there is this idea of joy; a wonderful word that brings happiness strongly into a present and momentary focus. Joy, defined as a current feeling of great pleasure and happiness, is therefore a concept that I’ve been trying to be more mindful of on a daily basis. Sometimes joy is manifested explicitly and simply for us, and so realizing how happy we are in a given moment, in these cases, becomes as easy as being simply aware of the feeling and identifying the moment as one of happiness. These are those moments of bliss and felicity, where you can literally feel your smile inching up right into the corners of your eyes and where the positivity is overflowing. Being mindful of these moments, however, is not always intuitive. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the pursuit of a state of happiness that we forget to pay homage to the actual happiness that arises from a culmination of all these joyous moments in our daily lives. I believe joy also speaks a sentiment of gratitude. Sometimes we have an envisioned notion of what will bring us happiness, and so we relentlessly seek those things at the expense of being cognizant of what we already have in our lives; things that if we pause to pay attention to, have the utmost potential to bring us great joy, in the here and now. Gratitude allows us to thus be more mindful of the joy-filled moments and joy-inspiring things that are already a part of our lives. My dearest readers, this is not to say that “pursuing” happiness does not have its place in living a full and happy life. On the contrary, there are so many aspects of looking to the future, and “ing”-verbs, that render life beautiful – dreaming and wishing, and looking forward to all that is yet to come, are some of the most beautiful doings to take up space in our minds. But as with everything in life, I think we need to balance the pursuit of happiness, with the living of happiness. So next time you look up to the sky and see a kite or a hot air balloon, and you find yourself smiling from ear to ear, make sure to be mindful of the joy you are feeling in that moment. My dearest readers, and may these joyous moments culminate into happy lives.