Friday, February 7, 2014

An 'Ode To Joy', Sort Of. Or A Cheat Sheet For 'How To Avoid Feeling Like Poopy'.

I get these daily 'truthbombs' from Danielle LaPorte.  They were one of the few things that survived my self-help and inspiration purge a few weeks ago.  One day this week, the phrase she sent was, 'Joy expands.'  It really hit home with me so I printed it and cut it out and now it lives on my desk.  See?

I had to make this message a part of my desk decor because I have a theme word for 2014 (yes, I really did that) and it just so happens to be the word, EXPAND.  I took this message to be a clue about expansion.  Joy expands.  Does that mean that joy gets bigger and bigger?  I think it does.  But it also means than having joy helps us expand.  In that case the sentence is only missing an object.  Joy expands stuff.  And this year, I'm looking to expand in a lot of ways except my butt size, for obvious reasons.

My feeling is, if we feel joy we're more apt to allow ourselves to expand in life.  And there are so many things you can do/work on/attempt if you're aiming to up your joy quotient.  Here are just a few, in no particular order:

Be grateful.  Studies have shown that being consciously grateful on a daily basis makes you happier.  Try writing down four things every day that you are grateful for, it will make a difference.  Be grateful for little things.  Sunshine, pencils, or even just the ability to breathe are worthy of gratitude.  Say 'thank you' out loud.

Forgive.  Oh, this one's a doozy, but so very important.  You have to forgive or you'll never be free.  Forgiving someone doesn't mean you condone whatever happened or that you keep the door open to a bad situation.  It just means you're no longer going to carry around the negative feelings from the experience.  The anger and negativity is only hurting you, it has no effect whatsoever on who hurt you in the first place.  And forgiveness must also extend to ourselves.  We are not defined by our mistakes.  We all make them, and they are only mistakes if we fail to learn from them.  They say 'to err is human; to forgive, divine.'  And who doesn't want to add a little bit of divinity to life?  Forgive.

Exercise.  I don't care if you're running an ultra marathon or going for the burn lifting soup cans in a chair.  Exercise makes you happier.  There's science out there to back that up.  Just do something.  But don't get weird about it - life is about balance, people.

Love.  Love others.  Love yourself.  Send love out to the universe in general and open your heart to the love around you.

Be present.  It's hard to live in the moment, but the past really is over and who know's what the future holds?  'In the moment' is really the only place we ever are.  Why not try to make right now the best it can be?  Be aware about how, who, and where you are - don't mindlessly race through life.

Take care of things.  Take care of yourself.  Take care of those you love.  Take care of your possessions.  Take care of what needs to be done.

Open up.  Seriously.  Lean back, open your chest, let your lungs expand and feel what it's like to not live all curled up.   Sometimes life makes us want to roll into a ball and when that happens, by all means, go fetal.  But, it's not good to stay there forever.  We need to physically open our heart area when the time is right.  Or, maybe life isn't making you curl up, but your computer is.  A lot of us sit at keyboards for most of the day and I can't be the only one who's noticed that sometimes my chin is nearly touching the space bar on my laptop.  We need to reverse that posture and open.

Laugh, dance and sing.  Do one or all three.  Do it alone or with others.  Just lighten up and don't take yourself so seriously.

These are just few things I've found that help me to be more joyous - maybe they'll work for you too.  Lord knows I fall off the joy bandwagon more often than I'd prefer, but when I remind myself to focus on these things it's definitely easier to get back into the flow.

I'm wearing this:

In honor of the Olympics, I've decided to dress like a gold medal.  With suede booties.

gratitude:  this song and video, the Olympics, heated car seats, blueberry waffles

thanks and love.

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