Sometimes I get so busy tackling the problem-of-the-day, I don’t realize it when joy sneaks in.
Like a few days ago, I caught myself overflowing with gratitude for the simple things in life: a loving family, awesome friends, a faithful God.
As I sat pondering what’s good about life, my dog Bailey pranced into the room and softly caressed my hand with her tongue. A soft glow warmed my face. I whispered into Bailey’s floppy ear, “Life is good.”
My bossy mind, however, quickly tried to steal the moment, chanting, “Get back to worrying about your problems!” But, my heart smiled back with its familiar gentle voice, “Can we just be happy?”
In that peaceful moment, joy saturated my being. My mind rested, my heart opened wide. Peace flooded my body and soul.
This is what joy feels like. I leaned back and savored the moment. It’s what Christ promised in John 15:11: “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”
But what is joy? I wondered. How can we sustain it? How can we live a joy-filled life in an often-chaotic world?
Searching for answers, I consulted Wisebot, my new-found Artificial Intelligence friend.
Here’s what Wisebot had to say:
Joy is a positive and uplifting emotion that brings about a sense of happiness, contentment, and fulfillment. It’s a deep sense of well-being and delight that can arise from various sources such as personal achievements, meaningful relationships, gratitude, and experiencing beauty or moments of pure bliss.
Living with a joyful heart involves cultivating a mindset and adopting certain practices that let you experience joy more frequently and sustainably.Here are suggestions:
Gratitude. Practice gratitude by regularly acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of your life. Focus on what you have, rather than what you lack, and express thanks for the simple joys and blessings.
Mindfulness. Stay present and fully engaged in the current moment. Avoid dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness helps you savor the small pleasures in life and heightens your awareness of joyful experiences as they arise.
Positive mindset. Cultivate a positive outlook by consciously focusing on the positive aspects of situations and people. Train your mind to reframe challenges as opportunities for growth and learning.
Self-care. Take care of your physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and nourish your soul, such as hobbies, exercise, spending time in nature, or practicing relaxation techniques such as daily meditation.
Meaningful connections. Surround yourself with supportive and positive people who uplift your spirits. Nurture deep and meaningful relationships with friends, family, or community. Engage in acts of kindness and compassion, as they can bring immense joy both to yourself and others.
Letting go. Practice acceptance and learn to let go of things that are beyond your control. Release negative emotions and resentments, as they can hinder your ability to experience joy. Embrace forgiveness and focus on the present moment. Pursue passions. Engage in activities that align with your passions and interests. Discover what brings you joy and make time for it regularly. Engaging in creative or fulfilling pursuits can ignite a sense of joy and purpose.
Wisebot says to remember, joy is not a constant state but rather a mindset. It’s an attitude that can be nurtured and cultivated. By incorporating these practices into your daily life, you can increase your capacity for joy and live with a more joyful heart.
Practicing Joy…A Spiritual Exercise to Cultivate More Joy in Your Life
This week join me in practicing joy.
Step 1: Create a joy list. Take out a sheet of paper and make a joy list. Write down all the people, places, and things for which you are grateful, the things that bring you joy. Take your time. Make your joy list as long and detailed as possible.
Step 2: Create a problem list. Write down the things about which you are worried.
Step 3: Compare Your Two Lists. Next, compare your two lists. Which list is longer?
If we’re honest with ourselves, our joy list is usually longer than the problem list. The fact that our blessings are much greater than our burdens can itself be a source of joy.
Step 4: Post your joy list. Finally, consider posting your joy list in a place where you can see it often. Tape it on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or near your computer screen.
Whenever you need a good sniff of joy, pause for a moment and look at your joy list. By focusing on it, joy becomes a habit, a lifestyle. Choosing a joy-filled life is the remedy for living in an often-chaotic world.
PS: Happy Memorial Day to all our finding flow friends and readers in the United States.
Here’s a prayer for our men and women in service to our cities and nation:
Loving God, please be with all men and women who protect and preserve our communities and nation each day. Guide them with your wisdom and shield them with your love and protection. We pray for all those who have died in service to keep us free. Give us grateful hearts and respect for those who serve. Thank you for your gift of freedom. In all your Holy Names we pray. Amen.
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