I had an a-ha moment this week while reading the book, Super Attractor. The author, Gabrielle Bernstein, ranks various emotional states and lists Joy as the ultimate one. Of course, this started me thinking of my mom who infused her life with joy. We took a trip to Seattle to see my sister over the 4th of July, and it was on the cool side. My mom rejoiced in being cool in July (because she hated being hot), wrapped the tablecloth around her like a blanket, and posed for a picture. She embraced the moment and we have the picture to remember it!
This was one small example, but I know that my mom lived a joy-filled life. Joy is one of those things that seems difficult to define but is easier to recognize. Robert Holden, author of Be Happy and creator of The Happiness Project describes joy as "everywhere we are". Happiness can be more fleeting but joy is constant.
I've been thinking about joy and ways to build joy in our everyday lives. Part of the tagline on my website is "create a joy-filled life". This isn't meant to be a prescriptive guide or a step-by-step process, but rather some ways to infuse joy into your life.
Stop Waiting to Find Your Joy
I used to "wait until..." before doing things in my life. Want to take a hike in the woods? I'll wait until I get in better shape. Want to try out for a play? I'll wait until I lose weight. Want to take a weekend excursion? I'll wait until the house is painted.
I was always delaying my joy until some imaginary point in the future which, quite frankly, might never come! Then my sister moved from the midwest to Seattle. And somehow her move flipped a switch in me. I decided to try out for a faculty-staff play at the college where I worked (everyone got a role, but that's beside the point). I had a small role, but it brought so much joy to my life!
Interestingly, I had the opportunity to try out for the faculty-staff play in previous years but always thought "when I lose weight, I will audition". Just typing this seems a little silly, but I think a lot of us have our own version of "when I..."
Add Happiness to Your Life Today
As I am writing this, I am listening to my Top 10 Playlist for Motivation. Music (and the accompanying chair dancing) brings me a lot of happiness in my life. This weekend I also had a game night with my college-aged children where we played Bob Ross Monopoly. These were small moments, but they were intentional and brought happiness to my week!
Practice Appreciation for the Small Things in Your Life
Did you work through a difficult situation? Find the appreciation for what the situation taught you. Did you read a chapter in a book? Appreciate the author who crafted the story. Did someone apologize to you? Appreciate their apology. Did someone thank you for something you did or said? Say to them "I appreciate the thanks!"
Make the World a Better Place
This is a vague and broad recommendation. Some of us know exactly what our life purpose is. Some of us are on a journey to find it. I think that we all have ways that we can contribute to the greater good whether it's volunteering your time, donating to a worthy cause, or simply recognizing the humanity of others.