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  • Dr. Shelly Harrell

Weekend Wisdom: Our Soulful Joy

Happiness is not perfected until it is shared. -African Proverb

In my Year of Wisdom and Healing program, we just wrapped up our month on “Inspired Positivity”. We have been immersed in Black wisdomassociated with joy, celebration, confidence, hope, divine inspiration, and more. Claiming our joy and happiness is central to living a full and empowered life. This does not mean walking though life wearing a mask with a false smile, nor does it mean superficial pretense with fake enthusiasm or a perky attitude. True joy comes from the soul. It is this soulful joy that we must claim and reclaim, over and over again. The Black wisdom saying, “don’t let nobody steal your joy”, is a declaration of resistance to the way that life adversity, societal oppression, and negative interpersonal relationships can disconnect us from the light within. We must make space for sharing stories of the truth of our pain and struggles. But we must also not be chained to or imprisoned by the pain. We must illuminate the uplifts, open our eyes to the beauty and blessings, and make space for the joy.

The proverb offered for this weekend’s wisdom emphasizes the communal aspect of joy. From a communal cultural orientation, human experience is never located solely within the individual. Our humanity is incomplete if we are not connected meaningfully to others. The proverb is a reminder that we must share our soulful joy with others and in community. Sharing our experiences of happiness and our true, soulful joy can help others access and experience their own. When joy is shared in community it is elevated and amplified. Let’s get lifted ya’ll!

With Peace, Love, and Soulfulness,

Dr. Shelly Harrell


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