What do Missy Elliott, Jeff Buckley, Etta James, and Bill Withers have in common? Joy….

There’s these really cool opening notes to Missy Elliott’s “Joy” (The Cookbook)…after that kind of annoying skit, about one and a half minutes into the track, you hear this beautiful high, elongated note – just the word joy. The first time I heard it (wearing super dope headphones), I got chills. I really felt the joy. I’m assuming that was her goal, but even if it wasn’t, no matter. I felt it.

We’re working on the Distress Tolerance module in skills group this month. Here is what I want to tell you about tolerating distress: we’re not talking about eliminating distress (impossible); we’re not talking about white-knuckling the distress (pain + suffering); we’re talking about riding the wave, waiting until it passes, until the next moment, where endless opportunity awaits – for another emotion, (possibly even joy).

What gives you joy? And I really want you to deeply think on this word. The question is not, what do you find fun? The question is not, what do you like? The question is not, what’s totally awesome and amazing? The question is what gives you joy? Joy is like one of those sting rays at the aquarium that you’re allowed to touch. You ready yourself, get your hand wet, wait with a little trepidation, and look forward with great anticipation to that fleeting moment she passes just underneath your fingertips – soft, smooth, sleek – and gone. Joy is a moment, not a state. We’re lucky when we can find it. We’re luckier when we have a variety of things in our life which bring it to us.

Forget about bucket lists. You need a joy list. Anything that has ever, could ever bring you joy. Because when you need it, you really need it. And you need immediate access.

Here’s my joyful music list. Would love to hear your favorites, too.

Hallelujah….Jeff Buckley

Grandma’s Hands….Bill Withers

Blue Sky…..Allman Brothers

The House That Jack Built…..Aretha Franklin

Weary….Buju Banton

Survivor…….Destiny’s Child

Saldek….Dead Can Dance

Groove is In the Heart…..Dee-Lite

Easy Silence….Dixie Chicks

They Love Each Other…..Grateful Dead

Empire State of Mind….Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

I Love Rock and Roll….Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

You and I…..Lady Gaga

Ramble On….Led Zeppelin

Blueberry Yum Yum…..Ludacris

One Day….Matisyahu

99 Luftballons…..Nena

I’m the Best….Nicki Minaj

Big Poppa…..Notorious B.I.G.

Solsbury Hill….Peter Gabriel

Bouncing Around the Room….Phish

Shake Senora…..Pitbull (feat. T-Pain and Sean Paul)

Every Little Thing She Does is Magic…..The Police

Hallelujah, I Love Her So…..Ray Charles

Jealous of My Boogie…..RuPaul

Rapper’s Delight……The Sugarhill Gang

Dynamite……Taio Cruz

Guantanamera…..Wyclef Jean

No One Else on Earth…..Wynonna Judd

At Last……Etta James

Take Me To Another Place…..Arrested Development

It’s Oh So Quiet…..Bjork

Mr. Brown…….Bob Marley

Small Axe……..Bob Marley

Duppy Conqueror…..Bob Marley

Why Can’t I Be You?……The Cure

The Magic Number……De La Soul

Tyrone……..Erykah Badu

Don’t Stop Believin’


And, you know, many of these people may have been/are depressive types. It’s not all about cupcakes and fairy dust here. Moments. Joyful Moments.





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Therapy, at its finest, provides a place for us to know ourselves without judgment. My practice is centered around the idea that change is inevitable,
and that we can shape our lives in ways that allow us to both accept the roots of our history and prepare for the growth of our future.