C.S. Lewis once said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven”
Everyone needs joy in life.
Think of things that bring you joy.
It could be something as simple as looking at a flower or watching a sunset.
Life can become mundane and repetitive.
Stop every once in awhile and try and find a little joy. Even if it is for a moment.
Right now think of 3 things that bring joy to your life.
Whenever you find yourself down, try and think of these things. It will help to lift your spirits.
There are many ways to motivate one’s self, and joy is just one of them.
Named for the two-faced Roman god Janus, January is a time to look back – and forward. Janus is the god of beginnings and endings, of doorways and gates, of time and transitions, and passages, as he looks to the future and back to the past. For without reflection on the past, the dream of a new, bright future is hard to imagine.
The end to the year is here – and the beginning of another is upon us. December 31 and January 1 – we straddle the past and the future, the end and the start.
This is what I’d like you to do today, on the very first day of the New Year.
I’d like you to reflect on your year in its totality – between January 1st and December 31, 2016: the hard times and the tears, but the great times, too. There is always at least one – and, if you reflect, there are many, many more.
Okay. As you reflect, write down all the amazing things from 2016. Handwrite them – don’t type them. There’s something about writing by hand – from your heart to your hand, from your soul to your hand – that makes those great things seem even more real.
Here are some thought starters for you. Write yours down in a list, and really think about how each made you feel – and why.
- A new child in your life
- A degree in school
- Paying down (or paying off!) a debt
- Moving into a new home
- Finding or rekindling love
- Planting a garden
- Creating a painting
- Writing a book/play/song
- Being cancer-free
- Adopting a shelter pet
- Landing a new job
- Being with family and friends
- Volunteering at the soup kitchen
Now, once you have that list and have reflected on each one, tear each good thing into its own strip of paper, fold it once or twice, and put each “blessing” in a jar that you’ll label “2016.”
Guess what? This is going to prepare you for 2017. For any hard times, for any pain. You can go right back to that jar, close your eyes, and pull one “great 2016 moment” from the jar. The good from the previous year can get you through any rocky times in the coming year.
And now that you know how buoyant that feeling of fabulous is, I’d like you to get a jar and label THAT, “Sensational 2017.” DO IT NOW.
This time, you won’t have to wait until the end of the year to write everything down. Now, every time something good happens – no matter how small or insignificant you think it may be – write it down on a strip of paper and place it in the jar. As you do this, think about how this star of happiness made you feel. Why did it make you feel that way? Was it because you proved to yourself you could do “it” – whatever that it may be? Or was it because it made your heart happy?
You want to focus on moments that light your soul, engulf your heart with happy, and inspire your mind.
“The most effective way to do it, is to do it”- Amelia Earhart
So what are you waiting for?
Send us some of your inspirational events so we can share in your accomplishments!
“When there are no ceilings, the sky is the limit.” –
Hillary Rodham Clinton,
former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and Democratic Nominee for President
No, this is not a political post.
Rather, it’s about life: your life.
Think back. How many times in your life did your negative thoughts entrap you? Maybe you didn’t realize it at the time, or perhaps you don’t even realize it now. But negativity constructs walls, topping them off with an impenetrable ceiling, creating a nearly indestructible box from which you can’t escape.
Or so you think.
Mind and thoughts are powerful entities. Emotions, too, generate their own power.
Together, they have the power to dictate your physical experience.
Yes, we face our own share of challenges every day. A challenge for one person might not seem like a challenge for another. It’s in the way we observe, process, and navigate the challenge. It’s our total capacity for life and everything it throws at us (or serves us). Some people have a large capacity and higher tolerance for challenge. Everyone has a breaking point, though, and most of us know when we’ve approached it: short temper, impatience, exhaustion, negativity.
But I know from experience – my own and others close to me – that optimism in the face of heartbreak, or soul crush, or physical illness helps to set the tone and the course of the outcome.
When we think in terms of limits – whether a ceiling, walls or a situation – we can’t see the way out. Such is the nature of limits. We limit ourselves in our thinking and outlook. We construct limitations for ourselves because we’ve probably never pushed ourselves to our real limits.
I’m convinced we don’t know what our real limits are until we are thrown into a situation, or until we unhook ourselves from our own tired worldview. I’m also convinced that optimism shines the light on possibilities, illuminating a new road or a new opportunity for us.
Being optimistic isn’t easy – but it gets easier when you develop the habit. Negativity is draining mentally, physically, and emotionally. Why go down the rabbit hole to the dark side? Re-train your mind to focus on positivity. Pay attention to your thoughts and your words. Pay attention to every thing, every situation. Keep your eyes and your heart open. Look at the world and yourself with positivity and optimism.
Pretty soon the ceiling and those walls will fade, and a blue sky with a shining sun breaks through or a wide open velvet night with stars sparkling comes into view. Both are beautiful, and both contain potential.
The sky is the limit – which is limitless.
“Pleasure is always derived from something outside of you, whereas joy arises from within.”
What does that word mean to you?
For many, it’s synonymous with Winter, Christmas, and joy to the world.
Peace, Love, and Joy – the holy trinity, the apex of human experience. Something to which everyone aspires. Joy – real joy – resides within every person. Sometimes, though, it takes hard work to crack open the joy.
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
–Henri J.M. Nouwen
No matter the circumstance, I find joy and happiness ever present. They exist right in front of us, free to us to experience.
What about joy in the face of negativity, whether negative experiences to us or other people’s negativity? Choose joy. Choose empowerment of self. Choose aiming a bubble full of joy into whatever non-optimal situation you face. It’s so much easier, so much healthier, to embrace joy.
With that said, snap on the flashlight, light the lantern, strike the match to the candle in someone else’s darkness. Be the light – don’t be a part of the vortex of negative. If you choose joy, you allow other’s to recognize the beauty and joy within themselves. And isn’t that a great way to live life? By choosing joy and lifting yourself up, you can do the same for others. One person can’t force another to experience joy, though. Sometimes, layers of thick, hard shell need peeling away before reveling the joy at the core of your existence.
Joy lifts you up – finding that floating effervescence is transcendent.
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”
Someone once said, “Joy is contagious.” It is. Ever been around someone so filled with joy that it’s impossible not to smile, not to hop on board the joy train? How often have you been that person? Can’t think of a time? Stay present. Be aware. Find beauty and joy in everything. I guarantee you, it’s there.
“A joy that’s shared is a joy made double.”
Don’t extinguish or contain your joy. It will spark the flame of joy in others. Isn’t it fun and freeing to laugh like crazy with someone, to share amazing news – big or small?
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh
It’s so much easier to choose joy. But it takes practice. It’s a good habit to develop. Those people for whom negativity is the first “go-to” – that’s a hard habit to break. Rewiring your brain is a challenge.
When those negative thoughts pop up – STOP. Stop and think first: what is the positive in this situation? How can I create joy from this? Before those negative or callous words tumble from your mouth – STOP. As our elders taught us – THINK before you SPEAK. How will your words affect others in your presence? Will it bring them joy? Will it bring you joy? Will they uplift someone’s spirits? Will they make you feel great? If the answer is NO – STOP.
Pay attention to your thoughts. Pay attention to your words. As negativity creeps in, choose JOY as its replacement.
“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give.”
What gives you joy? What makes you joyful? Sunny days, with a cool breeze, birds chirping, leave rustling. I love it. It enables me to inhale quiet joy and breathe out exuberance. Cats playing, cats purring, dogs running, rabbits hopping, birds flying – all of these provide me with unbridled joy!
At the end of every day, think back and jot down joy points. Make a Joy Jar, and drop in beautiful slips of paper filled with those joy points. It’ll provide you with a tangible record of all the joys, the good, and the happiness in your life!
By Syndee Barwick