As I live my life at “The Edge”, I’ve noticed that all of us are really after one thing – Joy. If you think about it for just a few minutes, isn’t this true? What we accumulate, the relationships we’re in or yearn for, the jobs, hobbies and interests we pursue, the religions we encounter, the spirituality we experience – don’t all provide the hope, promise and/or experience of true joy and happiness? Some endeavors lead to real Joy and others to dead ends, but the bottom line is, we want to experience Joy.
Joy is a gift offered 24/7 to every person on the planet. No two experiences of Joy are the same and it matters not a person’s physical condition, political or religious leaning, place of residence, emotional state or IQ. Isn’t that simply amazing?
“Yeah, but how do I claim it when my life is falling apart, or when the world is on the brink of (pick a tragedy)? What if Joy is becoming an endangered species? What if another person is getting all the Joy and there is little left for me?”
How do we come to experience Joy on a consistent basis? Living at “The Edge”, there are certain leaps of belief that, if taken will lead you to your Joy. They are: Joy is a gift given to me to be experienced daily. Joy flows to me and through me. Joy is unique to everyone. There is a never ending supply of Joy to be experienced in my lifetime.
Become aware of it in your life
Acknowledge it when you feel it
Allow yourself to experience it when you feel it
“Milk it” so it grows and grows to become the predominant lived experience in your daily life
Below is the simple “Joy Exercise” – a step-by-step process for daily experiencing true Joy.
Today’s “leaping” exercise: The Joy Exercise: The beauty of this exercise is that absolutely everyone can use this! EVERYONE!
Let’s “leap” to it!
- Carry a notebook with you for at least 30 days (a computer works too). This will be extremely helpful for you as a trigger for your intention to look for and experience Joy throughout the day. It will also serve as a reminder down the road as evidence of Joy already in your life (in case you need a reminder!) There is power in knowing that you need to write something in your notebook once each hour! It tells your mind to look for evidence (and you know what – it finds it!!)
- Each hour (yes! Each hour!) stop for 60 seconds with the intention of noticing a joyful moment that occurred during the previous 60 minutes. I promise you, there will be at least one experience! Write what happened and how you felt in your notebook. There are no right or wrongs here. The point is to train yourself to recognize, allow, then experience Joy flowing through you. Example: 10AM. Meeting with staff. Noticed that everyone was involved and contributing. I felt good about contributing! Another example: 8PM: Missing my family. Spent a few minutes sending love and prayers to them. Felt peace and joy while doing this. One more example: 2PM Very difficult budget meeting. Felt a little glimmer of peace as I gave it my best efforts. (You’ll notice that the word “Joy” may not be the word you choose. This is ok as one feeling and intention (even if it is not quite Joy yet) builds on another until in time, Joy becomes the dominant reality within
- At the end of each day, read from your notebook and experience these moments again. Remember, you are practicing the feeling of Joy in your life using YOUR life’s experiences. If this is new to you, be patient. It will come. It’s ok if it feels awkward at first. For those who already know Joy, use this to deepen your awareness and experience.
- Learn to “milk” the feeling of Joy. Allow it to grow and grow in the moment you are experiencing it or through recalling the experience later – reliving the feeling and expanding it. Use your imagination and allow the Joy to become bigger and bigger! (Isn’t being human a wonderful thing? Not only do we get to experience Joy-filled moments real time, we get to recall them and make them even more Joy-Full!)
I have a few additional tips for getting started. I discovered them via falling off a ladder, severing the ACL in my knee which led to knee surgery. Following is what I’ve learned from the therapist’s approach to my healing:
Begin therapy where “I am at”. In other words, begin exercises with what my body is able to do
Progress slowly with a few repetitions, then build as my body becomes accustomed to the exercise and gains strength
Consistency is key!!!
Each exercise has a specific purpose
Each exercise session benefits the overall healing. I became aware of this after about day 20 when I noticed when I did and did not exercise. My body advised me how to feel better!
So many simple and clever tools to benefit my healing. For example, an exercise ball to keep my back supported. A phone book as a simple step for strengthening my quads. A piece of latex banding for helping to extend my knee. Simple. Powerful
One exercise builds upon another. Beginning small, then expanding is an amazing process to watch and experience
Building awareness of listening to what my body is communicating is also very useful
So, what does this have to do with our “Joy Exercise”? Developing the habit of feeling and flowing Joy is similar. Begin where you are at. Progress slowly; allow your mind and heart to begin to work together. Consistency is key!!!!! Trust that each entry in your notebook is there for a specific purpose and benefit. Trust that the simple exercise of recording 8-10 times per day is powerful and will make a long lasting impact. Know that this exercise is the first step and other inspirations will follow. Use it to build awareness of Joy in your life! 20-30 days from now, there’s no telling where you and Joy will be!
Life at “The Edge” is indeed, a journey in Joy! –Joan Kappes
For additional information, inspiration and “how to’s on bringing more joy into your life, I highly recommend “Living with Joy” by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer
Photo courtesy of Tinypic
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