We’re right in the middle of the holiday season, and I know there’s so much happening for all of us. In addition to the fullness of the holidays, I’m in the midst of new homeopathic cases and follow-ups, and I’m writing a lot, both of which I love. But all of this calls for a lot of my time. The list of to-do’s is long, of course, and I’m noticing that even the things that bring me joy are feeling like another thing on the to-do list, because there’s a bit too much. So, something’s gotta give—I’m in the business of cultivating joy and healing, not stress and illness. Rather than writing a new blog this week, I’ve decided to share something I wrote before. It’s short, which I hope allows you to read it during this busy time. And, in doing this, I’m freeing myself up to connect in with what really feels joyful and playful for me these next few days.
By the way, that’s what this photo is about for me—joy, fun, and playfulness. When Tamara at Silver Thumb Photography was snapping photos for my website, I told her I wanted to convey this somehow. For me, healing is both a serious and playful business. It’s so easy to get stuck into our work, especially the hard work of healing, and lose sight of the joy. It may take effort to cultivate joy, especially during particularly painful and challenging times. But the more we experience joy, the more it is wired into our brains, and the more easily it comes.
I hope you find something that touches you in the reading below. And I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to cultivate joy, fun, or playfulness, too. Let’s add to the list!
The good news is that joy, collected over time, fuels resilience.
I see this sign every single day. I appreciate how subtle (and not so subtle) messages and reminders are placed in our paths, if we’re present in the moment and open to receiving them.
This sign, with the arrows pointing in both directions, reminds me that joy can be found everywhere, no matter what path we take or direction we choose. This has been a huge lesson for me of late. Joy is something that we open ourselves up to, something we create from within. Joy can be present even in the midst of the messy, hard stuff of life, but it takes practice. How do we increase our capacity for JOY? Here’s what I’ve learned…
Create space to feel all the feelings. We must allow ourselves to feel the entire range of human emotions. What is the light (joy) without the darkness (sadness)? If we push away our negative feelings or numb ourselves to them, we likewise numb ourselves to the fullness of joy. It’s remarkable to sit with feelings and allow them to move through, rather than giving them power to stay by pushing them away.
Be and Do
What fills you with joy? Name the big things, and especially the little things. Engage yourself with these joyful experiences and be present for them when they occur. For me, it might be relishing an early morning snuggle, dancing in the kitchen, or connecting with a friend. And when we can’t do the things that bring us joy in the moment, we can create space in small moments to bring joyful memories into our minds and feel those feelings in our bodies. It’s a choice, and it take practice.
Practice Gratitude. Seriously. This deserves its own post, because of the power this one action holds. I’m not the first to say it. There are numerous books about and research on gratitude. This is an in-the-moment way to build your capacity for joy. I was inspired by Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversation with Shawn Achor to record three things I’m grateful for each day, and it’s been eye-opening. It truly helps to rewire your brain and shift your focus.
Get support. If you’re struggling or stuck, reach out to a friend, a therapist, a coach. Joy, as with life, is rarely fully experienced in isolation.