No really, Joy is a CHOICE. How you look at things is up to you. You can’t control the circumstances, but you sure can control how you react and feel about them.
When my kids were little, I’d envy the array of emotional storms that would pass over them within the course of an hour. HAPPY, MAD, SAD, EXCITED, CONTENT…and on and on and on. Like little thundershowers, the feelings would come and they would go. To this day, they still don’t hold grudges, they don’t stay mad, they let the feelings come and then pass on through.
I heard a preacher once who said, “They’re just feelings – they come and they go. Don’t get too locked down on them because then the feelings control you.”
It’s hard though isn’t it? When someone hurts you, disappoints you, frustrates you, angers you…to just, feel the pain – and let it go.
Somewhere along the way, instead of letting the feelings pass through, we started allowing the feelings to linger and turn into resentment.
Here’s what I think about the sticky icky resentment – it’s not a feeling. It’s a choice. And when you choose resentment, you’re holding on to the ick. You’re allowing the feeling to stick and fester. And that ick isn’t good for your health.
Conversely, you could feel it – and let it pass through.
There’s a great story in Jon Muth’s “Zen Shorts” about an old monk who was treated very rudely by a woman on the road. The rest of the journey his travelmate stews about how awfully the old monk was treated. When he brings it up at the end of the day, he expresses his outrage, “That woman back there was so rude. You picked her up, carried her on your back, and she didn’t even thank you.” To which the older monk replied, “I set the woman down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?”
I loved this illustration.
You get to choose what goes on up in your noggin. You have control over what goes on in your brain. I’m not saying don’t have feelings. Everybody has feelings. But then, it’s your choice to let it pass.
And you can be PROACTIVE about joy. Seek it out! Make it a practice! There was a guy I kind of dug in college who put it best, “Wake up laughing. It sets the tone for your whole day.”
What if we did that? What if we woke up laughing? What if we CHOSE JOY. Every day.
We’d be happier. We’d be healthier. Inside and outside.
Today – choose joy. Choose to not let the circumstances of life push you off of that lovely center. Stay in it. Have a joy-filled day.
Peace. Love. Joy.
Take a ride if you will with me in the wayyyback machine – back to 1988. AAAAHHH! I was in college and besides having larger than normal hair, I was balancing 3-4 jobs, going to school full time and… searching for something.
It took me a good 25 years to find it, but what happened on a particular day in 1988 stuck with me.
I lived in a house with many young women and, as you can imagine, there were many boys coming and going from this house.
One of these boys, threw me a lifechanger.
I was 19 years old, and he threw me something that has hung with me for all this time. I don’t remember who he was, or if he was there with me or a roommate. I don’t remember his name or any details except for what he told me.
What he said was, “Sarah – a human is like a house made up of four rooms. Physical. Emotional. Intellectual. Spiritual. And those rooms must be aired out each day.”
Umm….. YES. YES. YES.
We are like houses made up of four rooms:
Physical – Get out and move your body in a way that pleases you each day. Delight in the complex, amazing, beautiful you. Stretch. Walk. Hug. Move.
Emotional – Share of your beautiful self with others and open yourself to receiving the gift of others. Share air. Share thoughts. Share time. Share your gifts. Love freely.
Intellectual – Read things that challenge you, inspire you, teach you. Try new things. Go new places. Learn about different people, different cultures. Travel. Eat different food. Talk to people about things that make you think. Ask questions. Be a lifelong learner.
Spiritual – Connect with the Divine in a way that makes sense to you and resonates with you. Feel the deep connection with each other and with the collective. Open yourself up to the big mystery – LOVE. Quiet your mind so that you can feel it, hear it, and be one with it.
And all of these rooms need to be opened up and aired out every day. For balance. For harmony. For connection. For wholeness.
So – dear, sweet boy whose face I don’t remember, name I don’t remember, reason we were having this deep conversation in my rental house on Wright St. in Marquette, Michigan circa 1988 that I don’t remember…
Thank you. Thank you for teaching me something that I’ve tried to honor as best as I could, all of my life. I hope others will benefit from your wisdom as much as I did.
Namaste. My soul recognizes your soul. I honor the love, light, truth, beauty and kindness within you because it is also within me. In sharing these things, there is no difference or distance between us. We are the same. We are one. Namaste.
I pray that this word isn’t so bandied about that it loses its beauty, complexity and significance. At its most essential – the Divine in me honors the Divine in you. Perfection, really.
This word, when used with understanding is meant to dissolve judgment. It’s meant to scrape away our armor and allow us to stand before one another emotionally naked. I see you. Do you see me? Will you allow me to show up as myself, vulnerable, and will you do the same?
This takes great courage. And it is a practice.
It takes practice to look someone in the eye upon meeting and show them your insides when you shake their hand. It takes practice to simply allow yourself to be seen, authentically without your inner public relations worker telling you to cover some things up because those things are in some way not acceptable.
And, conversely, it takes practice to SEE people. To allow yourself to really see people is tougher than it sounds – because the filters and judgments that we have set up don’t allow for it. Instead, often what happens is we don’t see, listen, we get irritated, frustrated, shut down when the person we’re interacting with doesn’t meet whatever standards we’ve set up. Or if they don’t agree with our politics, views, lifestyles. Heck, sometimes it’s how they wear their hair that will repel us…
Hm. That’s not really Namaste of us is it?
Another part of the meaning of the word that I like is that you are to recognize the truth, beauty, light and love within yourself. It’s sometimes almost easier to see it in others instead of seeing it in ourselves. It’s hard to accept that we are simply.beautiful. Just as we are. That we are filled with light and love and goodness…all of the time. Not just some of the time – all of the time. Truth.
Seeing that light and beauty and love in others DESPITE the differences between us?? THAT is Namaste. THAT is seeing and seeking connection instead of turning away from it.
And finally…if we start to see that beauty in ourselves and each other, we start to see that WE ARE ONE. That we aren’t separate from each other. We are of the same space. We are leaves on the same tree. As different as each leaf is, we are of the same tree…connected and beautiful both separately and as a whole. Even if we’re different. Even if we don’t have anything in common. Even if we disagree on just about everything! Still, we are leaves on the same tree. Connected. Needed…to make the whole.
I read a quote that changed how I interact with people. Or…it started me down the road of changing how I interact with people.
“The way of the miracle worker is to see all human behavior as one of two things: either love or a call for love.” – Marianne Williamson
Holy crappers! You mean we’re all just out there wanting to give and receive love? Could that be right???
Yes. At its most simple. Yes. What do we all want? To connect. To be seen. To interact authentically. To be accepted. To be acknowledged.
Once I started seeing that in people (even the people I disagree with and want to push away) I could be more accepting, more loving, and more vulnerable. To be able to say, live and breathe Namaste and really mean it.
It reads like a poem.
My soul recognizes your soul.
I honor the love,
and kindness within you
Because it is also within me.
In sharing these things,
there is no difference
or distance between us.
We are the same.
We are one.
1. the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.
2. an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.
It was when I was about 40 that I starting letting go. Letting go of things that drained me, letting go of things that didn’t help me fill my well, letting go of people that weren’t good for me. Taking a rest instead of powering through. Recognizing my need for quiet. Treating myself to a book and a cup of tea instead of braving the grocery store crowds. I also had to learn to say no. It was hard. But it was important for my wellness.
I found that for the first time ever, I started paying attention to my well of energy. To my wellness. And when I started doing things that fed the springs that led to my well, I was just happier. I was more ‘well.’ I was a better wife, parent, friend, business person. I was a better ME. I was able to live wholeheartedly.
People think that wellness is just about exercise and eating right. You bet. That’s part of it. But these are only parts of the puzzle. I think wellness really springs from within. The trailhead is within.
I’d like to add: sleeping well, calming your mind, surrounding yourself with people who add to the fullness of your life, smiling, laughing, being centered, being connected, growing, learning, really listening, communicating from your heart, living with your highest intention, expressing your creativity, and being in nature. These are things to add to the mix of wellness.
What am I missing? What do you do to fill your well? What do you do to ‘be well’?
Take care of your beautiful selves. You are so worth it.
I was thinking about how when you say, “Eat healthy and move your body” people’s eyes glaze over and they start thinking of beaches in exotic places. Yeah – I don’t think it’s exciting enough. I need a BIG BOLD FLASHY EXCITING SEXY marketing campaign to tell people what they already know. Repackage the truth to make it seem new and appealing.
I think people want QUICK fixes and FAST results and that’s why they take pills, do cleanses, and starve themselves of calories. They want to undo quickly what generally takes some time to create.
I get it. If I could be a genie and wiggle my nose and be exactly where I want to be I’d be tempted…
BUT. What if there are things to be learned in the process?