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“Happiness is overrated, joy is where it is at!” ~ Oprah Winfrey

What is it to be joyful?

Nature is one of the most beautiful ways to see joy being expressed. Recently while on vacation I saw a group of sea lions gathering together in the sea. They were jumping for joy out of the water as they migrated around a school of fish. Hundreds of seagulls and other birds flew to the scene, as they too saw the opportunity to feed and join the celebration! It looked as if a big party had been called together. After a few minutes of this sudden gathering, two whales danced their way to center stage and breached out of the water for a majestic splash in all the action.  It was such a sight to see up close. My eyes grew wide and exuberant laughter came bellowing out of me as I witnessed this upbeat Oceanic moment. It was as if nature was reflecting joy to me.

Commonly when I am working with clients, we have a discovery session around what ignites joy for them. Often it is far less dramatic events that invoke joy for people. Spending time with their pets. Helping others in need, going for a walk to appreciate nature, hearing kids laughing about the silliest things. Singing, being creative, spending time working on a hobby, watching a sunrise, seeing sunlight glisten on the water, hearing a friend have a good belly laugh, feeling the breeze caress their skin on hot summer day, and holding hands with loved ones. In these simple, yet delicate moments is what many people reported as joyful.  As much as people love a new material object or an exciting new opportunity in life, commonly these were not the first things that people described while contemplating their most joyful experiences.

Dr. David Hawkins, author of, Power vs Force writes, “As love becomes more and more unconditional it begins to be experienced as an inner Joy. This is not the sudden joy of pleasurable turn of events; it is a constant accompaniment of all activities.”

I help clients learn new ways to cultivate constant joy, including the times they are faced with challenging situations.

Mary Grace Long Photography http://www.marygracelong.com

The inquiry becomes, how to cultivate constant joy, even in the face of challenge and adversity?

Recently I had an opportunity fall short of coming to fruition when I wanted it to.This is not to suggest that it will not happen at some point, but it was in these turn of events that I noticed I was not feeling joyful. I took a moment to be quiet, to be aware of arising thoughts and feelings. As I sat quietly, I felt the feelings of discontent, impatience, and doubt. I noticed where I felt these feelings in my physical body. As I pinpointed the sensations, I took several deep breaths, noticing and feeling these feelings. I then began to be intentional about breathing into the discomfort and releasing this tension on each exhale. I was able to move through the discomfort rather quickly.

Once the acute discouragement had subsided and I was able to be in acceptance of where the situation was currently at, it became easier to focus on all the things I have to be grateful for and tune back into feelings of faith in the process and even joy.

Many of the clients I work with have been faced with far more challenging situations in life than a situation not going exactly how they wanted it to. Being joyful in the face of war, greed, death, and disease is also a far greater call to action.

It is important to honor feelings that come up even if they are difficult, where the dance of life is not about skipping those steps or cutting that scene out of the movie, but it is important to return to uplifted feelings as quickly as possible. Having supportive people in-place, such as a life coach, a mentor, a healing practitioner to help if we trip too deep in the mud of discouragement or defeated emotions, in order to leap back into good spirits, gracefully and as quickly as possible is key.

Being angry about something can actually be healthy initial steps as we fuel a flame that causes us to create monumental changes for the better. Raising our vibes out of forceful anger and into pure power of the greater good will help us to cultivate constant joy and operate at a more productive level.

Dr. Hawkins goes on to write, “Force always moves against something, whereas power doesn’t move against anything. Force is intrinsically incomplete and therefore has to constantly be fed energy. Power is complete in and of itself and requires nothing from outside of itself.”

Process the sadness or anger and then evolve your focus to a willingness to find the good of a situation or how you can help the greater good of the situation. The question becomes, “Where can we help a situation versus fighting against it forcefully?”

When we are not in acceptance of a situation we are in the polarization of it, which ultimately creates conflict, and someone ends up losing or being on the defense.  When we begin to look at situations from the perspective of, “This is what is… Now, how can we help or bring love to it?”  When we start to step into acceptance of the situation and how we can help to improve it, we begin to act more powerfully versus forcefully which can eventually lead us to joy.

Recently, my uncle left his physical body. It happened very quickly and took many of his friends and family by great surprise. I reached out to my cousin after losing contact with him in almost a decade. We have had some great conversations catching up. I rummaged through old photos of our family, we reminisced of fond memories and even had some good laughs together. In many ways, we shared joyful moments in the face my uncle passing on. My mother passed away over ten years ago. It was when I was sharing my experience of what got me through that difficult time that also brought me a sense of joy; to able to offer my cousin some comfort and hope during his time of transition in losing his father made me feel good to be able to offer him support.

Many recent current events have created an uproar of opposition, racism, and hate in the collective consciousness. When we hear about these events it is important to look at where we can help others become more educated, informed and loved. The moment we hate the other side of any situation we have lost true power and have succumbed to being forceful. This is not to suggest there will not be consequences for people’s negative and hateful actions but we can have a far greater impact being powerful versus forceful in our responses.

Cultivating constant joy requires humbly, surrendering to the awareness; becoming more conscious of our thoughts and feelings and continuing to choose the higher road of love and acceptance.

When we are able to start to break the unconscious, addictive pull to the lower vibrations of hate, sadness, anger, shame, and guilt we progressively replace the illusion with an up lifted vision. Wisdom starts to replace the ego’s forceful ways with a true power and ultimately joy. Continue to keep joy activated with meditation, quiet time, uplifting music, singing, a creative hobby you enjoy, spending time with loved ones and being in nature.

Tips for Cultivating Constant Joy

1. Focus on what you love, let go of negativity

2. Process the pain or discomfort if it is present, but let it lead you to positive changes or where you can be of service

3. Work with a life coach or healing practitioner to discover what ignites joy for you or possibly what is blocking you from feeling joy

4. Take time to be quiet, while focusing on your breath while going beyond your thoughts

5. Find acceptance of situations and where you can be helpful

6. Spend time in nature

7. Spend time with people that uplift your journey to joy

8. Singing, chanting, praying and affirming what you love

9. Dancing and movement

10. Finding a creative hobby that you enjoy
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