Joy is made sweeter because we know pain

Sometimes joy can be found in moments of relief from life’s burdens. Ross Gay is an author and poet who teaches at Indiana University, and he joins host Krys Boyd to discuss his essay collection about finding meaning in bleak times to create compassion, hope, and to better connect to our shared humanity. His book is “Inciting Joy: Essays.”

This episode originally aired March 22, 2023.

Did you ever wonder why your hobbies give you so much joy?

By Aislyn Gaddis, Think Intern

Gardening might seem like a small thing – or even a chore, but for guest Ross Gay, gardening is a huge source of happiness. And even after 16 years, he says he still notices new things.

“There’s just constantly connections – like the ways that bees pollinate flowers, or the ways that flowers turn into soil, or the ways that seeds have all of the plants forever inside of them,” Gay said.

For Gay, gardens represent a history of care and kindness that has been passed down.

“The people who have sort of brought the seeds that I plant, those are people who have saved seeds for generations, centuries sometimes, and I get to sort of be the recipient of that kindness,” Gay said. “That kindness also is like the kindness of the earth itself. It feels very, very lucky to witness that.”

For many, gardens are a way to be self-reliant. But Gay recognizes that even the best gardeners still need the sun, rain, breeze and “critters” to help with the process.

“I feel like when I’m with the garden, I’m just witnessing and participating in this whole big, incomprehensibly big experience of being beholden,” Gay said.

He shares his joy with others by giving them seeds gathered from his garden. And he says he doesn’t have any expectations that the seeds will even be planted, but he gifts them anyway.

“I love it, so I want to share it,” Gay said. “I think you’re supposed to share what you love; you know?”

To learn more about how to find more joy in the small things, listen to the podcast above.