Building a Joyful Life: A Beautiful Legacy

GrassRoots 2014
Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble at the 2014 Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival

Life is not all about books. I know this is hard for some of us to grapple with, but it’s true. At the very least, we need to eat, sleep and stay in touch with others. And then there’s all the stuff we’d rather not do – the stuff that feels like drudgery – but needs to be done.

There is a rhythm of life that involves the pleasant and the unpleasant, the necessary and the frivolous, the yin and yang. Life is both chaotic and beautifully ordered. We may not get to choose some of the things that happen to us, but we do get to choose the tone of our song. And, we can choose to give our energy and time to activities and thoughts that bring us happiness. I believe that this is, in part, how we build a joyful life.

My version of a joyful life is filled with books, obviously, but it is also filled with music. That’s why I’m taking a break from reading for the next four days to enjoy the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance with my sister and her family. There will be music and dancing at four different stages. It isn’t for everyone. Not everyone likes music or the type of music played here (Roots, Bluegrass, African, Zydeco, Reggae, Latin and more), and some think four days of this is torture, but that’s not me. I love music! The GrassRoots Festival has become my annual pilgrimage – my yearly reminder that there’s more to life than working to make a living. You’ve got to enjoy the living. As an added bonus, the GrassRoots Festival donates its profits to local education and health programs, including its own initiative called Roots in the Schools, so I know my vacation money is doing some good in the world.

All by itself the GrassRoots Festival is a great time, but one of the most fulfilling parts of my annual trek to Trumansburg is watching my young nephew revel in the music and dancing. He’s the kind of kid who can’t stop himself from dancing when he hears a great song. It’s enough to warm the coldest of hearts.

Without delving too deeply into the nature vs. nurture argument (I believe most things this is applied to are a mixture of both), I will say that I have a deep appreciation for how my sister and her husband expose their son to a wide array of culture. How do they do this? They take the time to enjoy their own lives. By appreciating the world around them, they immediately teach him how to do the same. I think that is one of the greatest gifts they give to their son. It’s a beautiful legacy.

How are you passing on your love of life to your children?

When you’re not reading, what do you enjoy doing?

Leave a comment below, and let me know how you’re building your joyful life.

Here are some of my favorite pics from past years of the GrassRoots Festival.

GrassRoots Festival 2013 Happiness Parade
GrassRoots Festival 2013 -Happiness Parade
GrassRoots Festival 2013 - Happiness Parade
GrassRoots Festival 2013 – Happiness Parade
Prayer Flags - GrassRoots Festival
GrassRoots Festival 2014 – Prayer Flags
Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble - GrassRoots 2014
Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble – GrassRoots 2014
GrassRoots Happiness Parade 1014
GrassRoots Festival 2014- Happiness Parade

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