On Being Prepared For Joy: Iridescent Readiness (Christian Wyman)

In an interview at Commonweal Magazine, poet Christian Wiman, whose work often grapples with doubt and death, turned his attention to joy and asked: Can one really just decide to be more joyful?

Then he answered his own very compelling question:

One aspect of joy is the suspension of will—the obliteration of will, really—though probably there is an element of discipline in being prepared for joy, just as there is in being prepared for poetry. “Iridescent readiness,” W. S. Di Piero calls it.

His answer knocked us out. There IS an element of subtle discipline in being prepared for joy, that is, the cultivation of a kind of openness, or better put, readiness, to catch moments of joy or beauty or poetry or unexpected magic and go with them, however fleeting they may be.

When we looked up the meaning of “iridescent”, we got an even bigger view:

…showing luminous colors that seem to change when seen from different angles

Iridescence…is the phenomenon of certain surfaces that appear to gradually change colour as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes


Iridescent readiness.


Hold that lightly in mind and see what happens…


(We scrolled through Improvised LIfe’s vast photo archive to find examples of iridescent readiness and found SO many examples —it’s the heart of what we do — from Richard Barnes’ Murmur no.8 to these joyful Tibetan monks somersaulting…)



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