Stirring the Stars of Joy
2018 is rapidly coming to a close and true to any December, it can be a time of great pushes and pulls! The natural world darkens and dips into the quietude of winter beckoning us to slow down, turn inward and be still, while the excitement of the holiday season pushes us towards an uneasy increase in activity and stress. It is a time for gatherings, merriment and magic – sprinkled with contrast. And for some people, this time of year brings downright loneliness and despair as their sense of loss becomes magnified.
It is a good time for each of us to remember our potential for joy. You know, J-O-Y. Joy, as that deep, heartfelt, exalted sense of life-is-complete. Joy, as that inbuilt sense of serenity that is reaching towards peace. Joy, as that spiritual quality of heart that bubbles up from your innermost wellspring within. It is a natural, core state, beyond the ordinary waves of emotion, and yet so few people can identify with being joyful.
This is a common tragedy of our times. When was the last time you felt that intrinsic, exalted, heartfelt state of joy? Not the ‘I’ve-got-a-fancy-new-red-Ferrari’ kind of joy, but the ‘joy-permeates-every-cell-of-my-being-and-I-stand-in-awe-of-my-blessings’ kind of joy? When was the last time you felt that joy ignite within you?
The sad truth is, many people overlook joy. They haven’t felt it, and they don’t value it as a key aspect of life. The tragic reality of being human is…
We are unfamiliar with joy.
We aren’t taught how to be joyful, how to enjoy life or even that joy is a key feature of thriving in life. Instead, many people are taught or imprinted with notions such as life is about continuous striving, or suffering, or we are to pay a penance in life. We are taught to aim for success in life through our efforts, our achievements, our accomplishments, having, and doing. Do, do, do!
If do, do, do brings deep heartfelt joy and peace and inner satisfaction and lowers blood pressure and supports health along the way – go for it. I have yet to see that to be the case for most people.
Many years ago a dear friend of mine said, “Life is not supposed to be suffering.” Those words landed like a ton of bricks deep within my heart and body. I felt the truth of it – I hadn’t been feeling any joy in life. It took time, but the positive reverberations from those words compelled me to discover the things that bring me joy. Many of my clients can identify with this story.
The truth is…
Life is supposed to be joyful! Joy is your birthright.
Joy is reachable because it is a soul level state that comes from within each of us. It’s just that we forget the joy and it gets buried. Learning to reconnect with our innate joy imparts a great wisdom regarding flourishing on earth. Joy is about being authentically true to your nature. It is more about being than it is about doing – less do, more be. When you are true to you, the barriers to joy drop away and the joy within bubbles to the surface.
Stirring the Stars of Joy Within You
1. Give yourself permission to let go of suffering and to live a joyful existence.
2. Begin to recognize and banish the joy-killers in your life. Often it is habitually doing things out of a sense of obligation – the “shoulds,” “have tos” or “ought tos” instead of living from the heart. Let go of feelings of guilt, shame and fear, and transmute them with self-love and self-compassion. Also, give yourself permission to love the Negative Nellies in your life from afar!
3. Cultivate joy. What ignites that ‘joy-permeates-every-cell-of-my-being-and-I-stand-in-awe-of-my-blessings’ kind of joy in you? Look for every small, fleeting spark of joy within you. Maybe sparks of joy fly with your dog or cat, or from a memory of a beloved someone, or maybe your spiritual practices bring you joy and you would enjoy doing them more regularly, or perhaps sending a little surprise anonymous gift to someone brings you joy. Discover joy, cultivate it and allow it to grow.
If you are really struggling with unearthing your joy, start with happiness. Happiness is a sweet quality and grows into joy. And one way to open the door of happiness is through gratitude. Soon, that daily dose of blissful appreciation catalyzes your happiness and joy.
Each time you feel joy, you are living from your soul perspective. Joy has the power to completely transform perspectives into more beautiful states. From there, you live your life from peace, with joie de vivre that feeds a sense of enthusiasm for your life purpose, and you use your essential gifts wisely. Your sense of wonder and your zest for living naturally inspires others.
In honor of nurturing joy in myself and others, I've created a new audio that is now available: Stirring the Stars of Joy
May you stir the stars of joy within you, helping you to reclaim and grow your innate joy, love and vitality for life, and may that joy bedeck your world and the lives you touch.
P.S. As I finished writing this, a picture of my beloved old dog, Halo, fell out of my notebook. I called him my “joy boy,” so I think he must approve of this message! In honor of every "joy boy" and "joy girl" out there, here is a picture of Halo that might bring a smile!