“Tis the season of joy, right?”
Have you ever felt like kicking one of those carolers in the shin… as they bellow up “joy to the world!” as you wonder…what’s to feel joyful about?
I have. I’ve looked around through narrowed eyes, thinking something like, “Bah. Humbug. The world is in terrible shape. Another year of children starving, the earth heating up, war, humans being cruel to each other…”
You can see how I may have lost friends along the way from my rather bleak picture of life. And how my inner world was one of suffering.
But then, many years ago, my teacher, Ethel Greene, jerked me awake with this possibility:
“I make my life a masterpiece of joy.
I was transfixed. Was it possible to make my life a masterpiece of joy?? Would this mean giving up an accurate read of reality, replacing it with a fantastical, Pollyanna vision of unicorns and fairies? Or…and I hardly dared hope…was there a way to actually live a joy-filled life?
I’ve spent the years since exploring, developing, intending, discovering a path towards living from joy. I haven’t yet found the nirvana of every breath being filled with exuberance and delight (I do love the contrast of seesawing between expansion and contraction), but I have come upon some reliable practices that bridge me back to the heart-filled wonder of joy. In the interest of preserving carolers’ shins (and motivation to keep them singing in the cold), I humbly offer them to you.
PRACTICES FOR MAKING LIFE A MASTERPIECE OF JOY
1) Understand that Joy is always available. It’s the sun behind the clouds, always shining.
2) Know that each of us is the source of Joy. It doesn’t come from outside of me. If I want to be in joy, it’s up to me to generate joy.
3) Joy seems to be nourished by life energy. That means making choices like resting, eating what my body really wants, finding the energy of the moment (vs. hanging out in the past or the future), and forgoing what saps energy (alcohol, social media, fill in your own blank here:____________)
4) Now is a good time to ask yourself: am I willing to generate love and appreciation? These are the stepping stones to generating Joy.
5) Here are some of the ways I reliably generate Joy. Try them out–and please add to them!
- Conjuring joy-filled thoughts. (For example, sitting here typing, my joy-thought is: I love the music I’m listening to, the chair I’m sitting on, the vista I see before me…”)
- Remembering joyful times. (Our dog Frankie had the Zoomies this morning, leaping over the couch, turning her whole body on a dime as she raced through the house, tossing the squeak toy.)
- Choosing to laugh (when other reactions are available and seemingly “realistic”).
- Choosing to dance and move (when I could sit)
- Choosing to play (when I could consume media, be bored…)
- Wondering “How could I be having more fun right now??”
- Following my impulses, aka being creative
- Having conversations that focus on what is wonderful about life
- (Add yours):______________________________
While I don’t (yet) live in ever-present joy, I know it’s there for me to find. Far from the bleakness of my life before, I have the great good fortune that my inner world is one of surfing on buoyant inner waves of expansion and bliss much of the time. So I sing to you, “joy to your world!”
Blessings to you, in this season of celebrating the return of the light; may you truly experience all of what love has to offer in this new year. ~ Julie
(Thanks to Cynthia Hildner for her wonderful graphics!)
Here are some upcoming events!
2023-Year of Essence! Free 2 hour class in uncovering your authentic self. January 1, 3-5pm MT.