Allowing for Joy
I have memories of days when something exciting was about to happen the next day. Pure exuberance and anticipation flowed through me, energizing every cell.
Christmas Eve or the night before heading to Disneyland would leave me giddy and unable to sleep.
Plans to see a good friend or a new love would elicit the same bubbly feeling, making a smile subtly spread across my face. This overflow of emotions, strong and visceral, exuded from every pore of my body. An elevated out-of-body sensation of sorts.
Can we create this kind of energized joy intentionally?
Joy can often go missing from our lives for long periods of time. When life gets heavy from financial stress, constant cleaning, over-working, obligatory care taking, constant meal preparation, and after multiple life crises, it can be challenging to remember to approach all things with full presence and appreciation. When things begin to feel monotonous and predictable to the point of boredom and grief for what we’d rather be doing or feel we are “missing out on” in our minds, the precious fullness of life can feel drained from all experiences.
Sometimes it seems the answer is in making others happy. That when others are feeling content and satisfied, we glow in knowing we were a part of it, or somehow at the cause. One concern is that if this ideal becomes the gateway for our own fulfillment, we can get burnt out or resentful from over-giving to others and never considering of our own needs, especially in moments that we feel unappreciated for our efforts or we don’t get the response or results we were anticipating.
Unhealthy distractions such as addictions and numbing ourselves out may take our focus because we can’t think of how to get our needs met while feeling stuck in the circumstances or situations we’re in.
How do we get things percolating with creativity and playfulness again? This becomes the question with no universal answer. What opens us up to enjoy what’s before us? How do we dust off the cobwebs from things that weigh us down and stress us out?
Watching kids or dogs at play is a good start. To let go just enough to FEEL ourselves and our natural state of exuberance again, or for some, for the first time in a long time or ever.
Oftentimes, it takes grieving and letting stifled emotions run through us first.
I recommend finding a safe and supported place to do this.
Then ask yourself the question…
What allows me to feel light and joyful on a regular basis?
Sometimes we forget, so I’m here to remind you…
Dance to your favorite music… alone or with friends and community!
Get out in nature or play a challenging sport that gets you moving.
Play with color by painting a room or taking an art class.
Use your senses and cook your favorite foods, use essential oils in a diffuser,or take a hot bath with your favorite bath salts.
Make things beautiful by clearing out clutter, lighting candles, adding some living plants, hanging new curtains or a string of lights.
This doesn’t have to happen all at once. Do it in your own time and on a budget that works for you.
Find joy in other areas of life once you’ve satisfied your own needs.
Write letters. Volunteer. Plant a community garden. See a play.
I suggest starting with yourself before reaching out. Not to encourage selfishness or self-centeredness, nor to change into some narcissistic entitled person. Rather it’s to remind you that YOUR joy is also important.
Once your JOY cup is full, it will inevitably overflow and spread to family, friends and community.
Just start small and see what happens. Trust me when I say self-care and giving yourself what you need is an expression of self-love. When we love ourselves, the world around us changes for the better. It becomes more beautiful and welcoming…..magical and synchronistic. The cosmos aligns and things show up that you would never expect such as pleasant surprises that express the intentions you hold in your heart. The more you do this, the stronger and clearer it will get so that you don’t feel like you’re having to force your pathway through the muck of the world. Instead, you’re paving a pathway to express who you are, what you believe in and the future you want to create rather than one that you fear.
Just try it.
And if you need more support to make this happen, reach out for support. There are many others working on this, too!