Are You Tapped In, Tuned In, Turned On to Joy?
Joy is a choice…a daily, hourly, momentary choice. In any situation, we may choose to react in whatever way we please.
If you are blessed with the gift of life again tomorrow, you will once more face opportunities to choose your way back to joy. Sometimes, the choice is easy. A hummingbird takes flight right before your eyes, the sun shines perfectly on your garden, your mate’s happy mood brightens your day. There is no difficulty in choosing joy in such moments. But variety is the spice of life.
When Joy is Missing in Your Life
What choice do you make on a dreary day, when the flowers wilt and the clouds hover in shades of gray? When the one you love speaks a harsh word, your body aches and the work you once loved seems but a bore? When there’s much to do and little time to do it, mistakes slow your progress, crisis holds you down, and you feel all alone in the wilderness of life?
These are the times when it’s easy to forget that joy is a choice. Joy is not just something that happens when circumstances are great—unless of course that’s the only time you allow yourself to receive the joy that is here for you. YOUR Joy cannot be limited by the people, events and circumstances in your life.
You are the sole individual capable of placing shackles on the feet of your joy. Fortunately, you are also the one who holds the key to those shackles.
Getting Back to Joy
Life doesn’t need to always go as you plan it in order for you to experience joy. In fact, joy couldn’t be experienced at all if the possibility of its opposite didn’t exist. So, how do you find your way back to joy? How do you move through the darkness?
First and foremost, acknowledge your pain, frustration, fear, discomfort. Don’t try to drown it out or resist it. Just acknowledge it without giving yourself over to it. Know that whatever feelings you have are valid. It is your right and choice to feel them, so allow yourself to do so. Bitterness, contempt, loneliness, guilt, despair. Identify exactly what you’re feeling, refusing to cover it up with outbursts, negative behaviors or mind-altering substances. Know that you can survive whatever feelings come up.
Notice the experiences, the sensations, and the perspectives that lead to the way you feel in the moment. Now, notice how these feelings are serving you. Do they help you in anyway? Do these feelings, or the thoughts that give them life, move you closer to joy? You are of course entitled to your feelings, but do you really want to hold on to them? Do they empower or dis-empower? Motivate or demotivate?
From this space of awareness, you may choose the direction of your choice. You may choose responsibility and empowerment over blame and worry. You may release criticism of yourself , other people and whatever situations arise. Without the attachment of judgment, just notice it all. And when you’re ready, ponder a different perspective.
How can you look at the present moment differently, more compassionately? How might you soften your thoughts? Will you replace anger with compassion, fear with acceptance of what-is? This is the path back to joy.
Are You Ready for Joy?
There’s no better time than now to begin applying this life lesson. During the course of your day, some person or institution may wrong you. You’ll have every right to feel sorrowful, angry, unforgiving or vengeful; but you also have the right to choose a renewed perspective, and thereby an emotion and mental attitude, that better serves you.
The path to joy is always here, even when you veer off course. And the choice to get back on track is always yours. You CAN choose joy. Will you?
Image credit: Bigbrowneyes