An Ode is a type of lyrical stanza; it is a highly structured, elaborate poem glorifying the heroics of an individual or praising an event. Many musicologists consider Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, from the final movement of his Ninth Symphony, to be one of the greatest works in all of music. What makes it so special is Beethoven’s use of the human voice; he was the first major composer to include it in a symphony.
The premier of Ode to Joy took place on May 7th, 1824 in Vienna, played by an orchestra larger than any other used before. This performance was a turning point in classical music…a paradigm shift, as it marked the beginning of the Romantic Period. Composers began breaking the rules of classical composition and exploring the use of large ensembles, extreme emotion and unconventional orchestration.
Ode to Joy is a thorough examination of the emotion of joy, something this season is typically filled with for most, but devoid of for some. It has been used to celebrate some of the most historic events of all times, to include Olympic Ceremonies, Presidential Inaugurations, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9th, 1989. Most countries have a national anthem, official or otherwise, but there really is only one Universal Anthem, that is, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
Ode to Joy is played, sung and heard in every corner of the globe. Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee was later written by Henry van Dyke in 1907 with the intent to set it to “Ode to Joy”, which we all will hear more than once over the next few days and you are probably him,omg in your head right now. It is the sincerest hope of all here at CercaTalent+ that each of you discovers this season that joy is the ideal state in which to operate, and you can make it a rallying cry and inspiration for living life to its fullest.
What is Joy?
How is it best defined? Joy is a feeling of immense pleasure and happiness. It is the most addictive and sometimes elusive emotional state. Anyone who feels it wants more of it. It is a choice. It can be created in any situation, no matter the circumstances.
Joy truly is the natural state we were designed for; all you have to do is look at the children around you to understand it is how we are created — to feel it intensely. Joy is everywhere; it presents itself in abundance each day. Joy is contagious; it is gift we give ourselves and spread to others, by choice.
Where will you find Joy?
Joy is inside each of us. Those who live in joy, share joy and spread joy liberally possess true wisdom. An essential part of your journey in life is the pursuit of happiness. You are accountable for all you do, to include the creation of joy or your failure to find it. That is why you must count the day or any week lost where you have not been moved to laughter and you have not taken a moment to play, as joy is essential to the good life.
Contrary to popular opinion, it is OK to have fun in everything you do. The very thought of joy should bring you back to core values. It must be incorporated into every relationship you build, every business decision you make, and every activity you undertake. This is not selfish, insensitive or unprofessional. Wanting life to be joyful, for yourself and others, is natural, normal and healthy!
We were taught as a child that joy is in everything, to include the journey. Every aspect of life blends better with joy. Combined with laughter, the two will ease the burden of the most tedious of chores and infuse even the most serious of situations with lightness.
Joy at Work
When asking the question, “Does this fill me with joy,” the answer should be obvious! Joy, compassion and respect are not side issues. They are the issues. We were not built to be business people who are joyful and compassionate; we are built to be compassionate and joyful people who just so happen to be in business.
On a scale of absolute emptiness to total joy, how would you measure your life right now? How would you measure the quality of your relationships, both at work and outside of work? How would you measure the work you are doing, on this scale of joyfulness? How about the quality of your play, recreation and relaxation?
How Do You Create Joy?
Like peace and quiet, joy will not come looking for you. It is a present you have to unwrap, and each day is filled with plenty of chances to unpack for yourself a ton of joy. Here are a few examples:
- Sipping a hot cup of joe while doing a little early morning self-development by the fire can bring joy;
- Lying in bed on a cold winter’s morning listening to rain can bring joy;
- Working through a challenging project can be filled with joy;
- The rising or the setting of the sun brings joy to many;
- Watching a child with a new toy is pure enjoyment;
- A good, long ride with friends is packed with joy.
Joy is a virtue which bears the fruit of enlightenment. It hides in plain sight, so you must open your eyes and cultivate the skill of discovering joy in places where you would least expect it. The ideal life begins with an ideal emotional state. Your outlook on life is not determined by your circumstances but by where and how you focus. A joyful focus brings about a joyful life.
What if Joy is Absent?
Unfortunately, many people do not enjoy life, they simply endure it. They find they cannot be happy because they are busy counting problems, not blessings; or maybe they believe life just has to be perfect before happiness can begin. Fact is, a problem free life is a fantasy that does not exist. If you are staking your joy on the absence of challenges, you will not find it or create it.
To learn to be joyful means to do it in the midst of challenges. While joy is a choice, it is also a gift. If you know someone who is struggling, that strain often becomes even more overwhelming this time of the year. Find ways to reach out and lift others up….It will bring you even more joy and could quite possibly be just the boost they needed.
Joy is not the absence of problems but the attitude you adopt despite the problems you face. A life filled with joyfulness is one well lived. Joy truly does add years to your life and life to your years.
As the season goes into crescendo today, remember, joy is a choice. It is way of focusing and framing. It is a tool for releasing the frustrations of the moment, it is a gift you can give others, and it is your ticket to the good life.
At CercaTalent+, we recognize we have a good life because each of you are in it, because we have been granted the gift of great work to do and a fantastic team enjoy it with, and because we each have been blessed with so much in the way of great family and friends, among whom we count many of you. Thank you, for all you do, to bring joy into our work and to the lives of your colleagues.
From all of us to all of you, we are wishing you a safe and joy filled holiday season. May you find this time of the year overflowing with blessings, and may your days, indeed, be Merry and Bright!
Adapted from the work of
Gary Ryan Blair