A Joyful Time? Maybe.
‘Tis the season to be jolly and joyful, and yet we aren’t either of these much of the time. I know I’m not joyful and it’s because I’m stressed about all of the work that has to be done and all of the holiday items that need handled by next week. Eek! Perhaps you can hear the stress in this line of thinking. If you listen even closer, you might hear the shear madness of it. If you can’t hear the madness in it, it might be because thinking this way seems normal to you, but, trust me, it’s not. Peace is normal, not stress. This kind of thinking is exactly what keeps us from being jolly or joyful. But what is joy and can we actually experience it? And can we experience it throughout the year?
Joy is happiness on steroids. It is the freedom to experience exhilaration on a consistent basis. The reason we don’t experience true joy as often as we could is because wowever wee have been trained to believe that joy comes from outside of us—we get something or things go our way. But true joy comes from within, not from without. Leaning on outside sources to provide us with joy doesn’t really work anyway. Most of the joy derived from these things only lasts a short time. It’s all temporary. However, joy from within is permanent as it is our natural state of being. Joy, in its purest sense, is a quiet, internal, peaceful knowing that all is as it is supposed to be and that all is being taken care of in the most divine way. We can experience this, not just during the holidays, but all year long, too.
The truth is, joy has four seasons, not one. Each one of us has the power to reconnect to the joy that is already in our hearts all throughout the year. We can tap into this on a more regular basis by noticing what doesn’t feel joyful to us. Pay attention to what you say and do that feels uneasy, unsettled, unhappy, and stressful. Then, don’t do that. It’s that simple. Joy will automatically shine through because you are already that. It takes a little practice learning to hear and feel what is not joyful, but we are all capable of doing this for ourselves.
Seven Ways to Experience Joy
You can’t buy joy
Joy is not a destination. Joy just is, as we just are. Joy is our authentic selves beyond our beliefs and thoughts. Joy is what is seen through the eyes in the heart, not the eyes in the head. It is an experience, not a thing. Feel it, express it, and rejoice in it.
Let go of worrying
Worrying, like many other patterns of thinking, including guilt, resentment, regret, anger, and judgment, blocks joy from being experienced. We all worry about things, as if we have a right to or as if it’s normal to do so, but it’s not. It’s just that we have been trained to think this way. Worrying never solved anything anyway. You can’t keep something from happening or make something happen by worrying. Worrying is nothing more than busywork for the mind. Don’t get caught up in it. Joy is waiting for you.
It’s time to get off the chair, get outside of the office/house and move. Everything within us is in motion—all of our cells and bodily functions are constantly moving and changing. Movement is natural to us and it is super healing for the body. By contrast, stagnation is unnatural, bringing us a slow functioning mind and stuck energy. This leads to preventable illness in many cases. So, get out there and dance, jog, jump, cycle or walk. But, move! Joy comes from movement.
Connect with everyone
We often only connect with those we like/approve of, those who look like us, and those who act like us. Anything else is a challenge for us. Such thinking is another block to joy. I encourage you to let go of preconceived ideas and limiting thoughts about others. This simple change may change your life and allow you to experience more joy every day.
Marvel at nature
The other day, I noticed two cardinals in my cherry blossom tree eating berries. I realized that Mother Nature leaves extra berries on the trees when a tough winter is coming so the birds and other animals will have enough food. To me, this was marvelous as I realized it happens naturally, in perfect unison with all of life. This is universal intelligence at work—the same that universal intelligence that we are. There is true joy in such marvelous moments.
Quit your job
This may seem silly to suggest, but many of us are in jobs that are nothing more than that—jobs. As such, we can’t wait for the weekend to arrive and Monday’s are the reason we are cranky all day. We call Wednesday hump day as if we have made it through the first two days of hell and are heading into the homestretch toward freedom. What kind of life is this? Why not do what you love? Of course, it may take a little planning on your part, but plan for your dream job then. Don’t let anything stop you. You just might realize that joy is found in the peace of loving what we do.
Connect through love
When we are kind to others, we experience kindness within. When we are compassionate towards others, we also experience compassion within. This is where joy resides—within the purest form of ourselves – love. Be open to showing others love.