I believe the most important thing any of us can do is to follow our joy.
“First, feel joy.
Second, deepen joy.
Third, use the source of that joy as the source of your service.” — Liv Lane and Lori Portka, Infinite Purpose
You would think that it’s a simple thing to feel joy, deepen joy, and follow joy.
It’s neither easy nor simple…
I can’t count all the different ways that I’ve fooled myself into thinking something would bring me joy and then found out the hard way, “Nope, that’s not it.” Or the ways that I gave up on joy because of ideas about what I should be doing instead of leaning into joy.
The longer I am on the joy path the more I believe that joy is not something you follow.
Joy is something you cultivate.
You dig inside to discover joy.
You nurture joy like a tender seedling in a garden.
You cultivate joy by showing up each day.
How do you cultivate joy?
Notice how your body feels.
Joy is not discovered or discerned by the thinking mind.
The ego will try to tell you about joy but do not listen to it.
There is no joy in ego.
Joy is felt in the body in the present moment.
Sometimes joy shows up as a longing to move, a feeling of pleasure in the senses, a bubbling fizzing feeling in your gut, butterflies in your tummy, goosebumps on your arms, or a deep yes that rises up from your toes.
Sometimes joy shows up as a compulsion to do something that “doesn’t make sense.” No matter how much your thinking mind dismisses the idea, it simply doesn’t go away.
Experiences and activities that bring us joy call to us if we listen.
What deeply moves you? How does your authentic self express itself? What brings you pure love, deep connection, a sense of grace and laughter? When do you feel most real? What do you feel deep gratitude for in your life?
Don’t make this complicated.
Keep it simple.
Make Space for Joy in Your Life
Start each day by answering these 3 questions in your journal?
- What am I grateful for?
- What am I excited about?
- What will I create today?
Whether you’ve known forever or you have no clue what brings you joy there is nothing more important than discovering and cultivating joy in your life.
My list of things that bring me joy includes:
Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Tall trees, Wildflowers, Nature, Northern Minnesota, Giggles with friends, Making photographs, Sunrises, Sunsets, Gardens, Lakes, Dolphins swimming, Otters playing, Ocean Waves, Sound of the ocean, Northern Lights, Starry skies, Full moons, Scent of flowers, Purring cats, Feeling a fresh breeze on my skin, Dancing all by myself in the living room, Growing raspberries in my back yard, Listening to a cardinal’s song, Cello music, Chickadees, A bald eagle soaring over my head, Watching ducklings in the pond,Watching flocks of birds swooping through the sky, Cacophony of trumpeter swans or sandhill cranes calling, A great blue heron at the edge of the lake, A white egret beside the pond, Walking in the woods, Dragonflies, Lilacs in bloom, Music, Baby kittens, Puppies, Grandkids.
Try to experience or notice one thing that brings you joy each day. Cultivate those seeds of joy and over time your life will become a journey of joy.
May you walk in beauty (and joy).
Note: Photos in this post are from 2 of my recent joyful walks with camera at Lyndale Park in Minneapolis and French Regional Park in Plymouth.