We can get so caught up in our busy lives, that stopping to consider what brings us joy can be a stumper. When’s the last time we even considered this idea? Joy? Huh? Beyond the idea that joy is getting enough sleep and checking chores off a list, What brings us joy – personally? What is that activity that you lose track of time when you are engaged in it? You focus completely and happily? You feel refreshed after doing it – not depleted? That’s joy. Spend some time deciding what brings you joy. Wake up. Include that in your life regularly. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.
The BFF of joy is service. They go hand in hand. Yes, solitude is vital for some part of our day. But helping others is what we are here for – and as a collateral effect, it adds to our joy. I once read “Finding our joy is the purpose of life. Sharing it is our reason for life.” Once you find those things that bring you joy, revel in them, make time for them. And share them with others to add to their joy. Hiking, reading, quiltmaking, basketball…help others find their joy, too. You have the ability to illuminate your life – be that light for others.
Do you love this quote from Planting Seeds, by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Community? Not only does smiling release tension in our face, it sets up a kind of chain reaction of lightness to those with whom we come in contact. Many think we are just a mirror of our biology: if we feel good, we will think good thoughts and pass that on to others. Feel bad, we pass on negative energy. True to a certain extent. Did you know, though, that we can change our biology? Beliefs beget biology, according to Deepak Chopra. If we believe life is out to get us, and we have to be on high alert constantly or bad things will happen to us, we will definitely transmit a certain outlook – one that will not be welcome by anyone (heard of Debbie Downer?). Try changing that belief to a more logical thought, such as “lots of bad things happen in life, but there’s lots of good, too. I’m gonna focus on finding the good.” Wow, our chemistry actually changes. So THEN we feel better. But the thought preceded the feeling. Sitting around waiting to feel better is the past time of victims. Taking the initiative to correct our THINKING, which then changes our feeling – now that’s a person who’s living, not just sleepwalking through life.
Oh we are so serious and important, aren’t we? Can’t take time for fun, recreation – must be accomplishing at least one important thing at all times. Sometimes I think of how we might look if we humans were viewed by beings from outer space: we really are funny people. The teeny things we worry about, the importance we place on inconsequential matters…Seriousness = Ego. Put that ego in it’s place. One definition of enlightenment is Lighten Up. Enjoy our many blessings. Learn to live with imperfection. Babies laugh countless times during the day. We adults have a lot of catching up to do.
She makes me so mad! He makes me happy. Who’s making us feel anything? We are responsible for our own feelings. What? Another person may perform an action and we may certainly have a response, but our response has more to do with the meaning we place on the action. Say someone calls us fat. And we know we are at our perfect weight, or less. We would laugh off that comment. I f we feel bad about our weight we would react to the same comment with anger or sadness. See the difference? If we are confident and secure, people can lobby any comment our way, and we will simply respond with the serene smile of a buddha. Taking responsibility for our feelings is a huge step in a calm mind. Absolutely no one can disturb our peace if we are at peace with ourselves. Love yourself. It takes the sting out of another’s barbs. What they say is more telling of themselves, and their state of mind, than it a true description of us. Remember, what you think of me is none of my business.