During the past 7 months of living mindfully, I took the time to tap into what truly brings me joy and to my great surprise I discovered that things I thought would bring me joy weren’t actually high on my radar!
I found that over the past few years I had become so caught up in how other people had achieved success and in trying to create a blueprint to duplicate it into my own life that I really wasn’t listening to my inner spirit.
I was taking online workshops and studying other people’s successes to learn what I could implement into my own life… and the more I listened to those workshops the less confident I felt in my own voice and approach, so rather than implementing anything I didn’t feel 100% confident about, I decided to just unplug from all of it and just live my life!
When I started out this time of “unplugging” I wasn’t wrestling with trying to find answers to why following that path and trying to emulate the qualities of the people I was coming into contact with were actually stressing me out… instead, I just stopped all that! I just quietly listened and did what brought me joy!
Whether it was just being totally in the moment and enjoying being with family and friends, going for walks in nature, attending community events, relaxing or being creative, I found great pleasure in this time.
I wasn’t even thinking about my life plan and my next few steps I needed to do to achieve it! I just allowed the time to unfold.
It was when I was writing my article “Overcoming the Impossible” that I really connected with what I had done and the tremendous benefits that living mindfully and with joy had brought me.
Living mindfully isn’t enough if we aren’t also adding the secret element of joy, for that’s what brings us satisfaction!
I’ve written about following our joy in life, but purposefully choosing to do things which bring us joy really is the secret sauce to living a fulfilled life!
At the beginning of January this year Netflix started a brand new program called Tidying with Marie Kondo, which I was curious enough about to watch!
Wow! Marie has the whole concept of joy down to an art! Her area of expertise (tidying) has allowed her to observe that when people simplify their belongings and choose what brings them joy, then organize and display them, that the emotional benefits greatly impact their lives and their relationships by redefining what and how they choose to live!
I love her simple and honest approach! She has learned a wealth of knowledge about living joyfully (and the wonderful effects that those choices have in our lives), but she never imposes her ways and instead allows each of her clients to discover for themselves these simple gifts of the spirit!!
Watching Marie’s show has had a positive effect in my own thoughts… I’ve been able to watch how taking the steps to choosing joy naturally leads to people’s spirits blooming, which wonderfully underscored my own steps in my own life!
Letting go is an integral part of Marie’s philosophy to following joy, but she doesn’t put the emphasis on the loss or the difficulty of letting go, but rather she focuses on choosing items which bring joy!
If we allow this concept to root deeper in our lives, we then choose to have relationships with people who bring us joy and we choose activities which bring us joy!
When we choose to allow joy to be a central focus in our lives, we aren’t focusing on loss! We aren’t focusing on the negative feelings of letting go or even feeling that we need to settle for less!
By focusing on joy we fill our minds and spirits with a sense of happiness and gratitude! By focusing on what brings us joy we’re better able to devote our energies into those activities and relationships, instead of spreading ourselves too thin trying to do it all!
I’ve been focusing on doing the things which bring me joy and have discovered a gentle release from the things I was struggling to incorporate into my life and feeling guilty that I wasn’t master of them. By letting those things go in my mind, my spirit feels clearer, I feel more at peace to just be me!
I’m quirky and don’t fit into a branded mold! I’m embracing that instead of quietly feeling I need to conform! The things which bring me the greatest joy are also things which I’m the most proud of: my family and the relationships I have with them, fitness and walking in nature… which allows me to indulge in another passion: taking photographs, and being a writer and a creative person.
During this time the universe brought up the whole issue of my relationship with my mother. I felt guilty about my virtually non-relationship with her, yet she had been a cruel and sadistic person in my life for years. By choosing joy, I realized that I needed to let go of feeling that guilt. My decision has been reinforced when I see the pain she still inflicts on family members who try dutifully to help her.
I’m able to feel joy that I’ve healed from the hurts and pains she caused me, to feel joy that I’ve developed self worth in spite of her negativity, to feel joy that I’ve learned to set boundaries in my life where I don’t need to allow abusive people into my mind and inner peace, simply out of duty!
Choosing joy is a powerful way to lead a happy and fulfilling life! Choosing joy allows us to focus on what’s really important and to gently let the rest go!
When we re-frame our thoughts and train our minds to see joy, we can see the flowers growing even out of the manure from our pasts! We can let go of so many negative thoughts and emotions which have been holding us back!
In letting go of things, Marie teaches to thank those things for coming into our lives, for they have taught us what we don’t like and what doesn’t bring us joy!
Louise Hay similarly teaches us to thank negative thoughts when we let go of them!
Gratitude and joy are two elements which work in harmony with each other, bringing us emotional clarity and freedom of our minds and spirits!
As we move forward, let’s work on claiming these things and adding them into our daily lives!
How does that sound to you?
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“When I know better, I do better!” – Maya Angelou
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