“You have to sniff out joy. Keep your nose to the joy trail.” – Buffy Sainte-Marie
Don’t let your guard down. Be intentional. We can easily stray off the joy trail by meaningless distractions, busyness, over-committing, trying to jam one more thing into a minute so we miss the minute that we’re in.
As you enter into these final days of Advent and the dawning of a new year, put on the brakes, pull over and take in the beautiful scenery. Be aware and awake and most importantly, in awe. Choose quality or quantity, essence over efficiency, wow over worry, relationship over transaction, slow over fast, quiet over clanging, depth over width.
“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” – Guillaume Apollinaire
Hunt for joy with vigor, hope and assurance that it is there to be found, not too far in the distance. If there’s a road I intend to travel in 2019, it certainly is the joy trail. Join me so we can take this journey together. Today is the only day promised to us. Don’t miss it.
“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” – Wayne Dyer
Our days are defined by what we hold on to and what we let go. The balls we chase and the ones we don’t. The stories that we tell ourselves and the stories others put on us that hold us back, that preach scarcity and fear.
What has been cannot be redone or undone, and it all has its purpose in the full story. The future is so much more than the repetition of the past if we dare. We get to choose what’s next for us at any age. Not what is supposed to be or what others think it is or should be.
Be open, in tune to that quiet voice and change your story by widening your view. Hold on to what’s most important and let go of everything that does not complete your story. There are signs and signals all around guiding, directing and hollering at us to get our attention.
Chase the right balls and enjoy the daily pursuit of simple joy. Dream and then do the work.
“Have a dream, chase it down, jump over every single hurdle, and run through fire and ice to get there.” – Whitney Wolfe Herd
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha
Joy is a job. It takes effort, rigor, repetition and practice to get good at it. We look for the shortcut and expect it to be innate. But often, it’s not. So rather that succumbing to the negativity, gossip and cynicism, get to work.
Focus on being grateful, even when the struggle is so very real. Lift your head and open your eyes a bit wider to see the beauty that is within reach right now. Ignore those voices in your head that serve no purpose but to prevent you from becoming you, the real one.
When I forget and get distracted by the minutia, I simply take the girls for a run into the woods and let them run off leash in the open field to pounce, chase and explore. It works every, single time.
“Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.” – Jimmy Buffett
Make joy a priority and let it take root. Welcome it home like a long lost friend. And by all means, share it with others. Joy is a job and the most important one that you will ever have. Hunt, pounce, chase, explore and sniff it out daily.
When joy is your job, life becomes less work.
“Take life on life’s terms – one day at a time. And have fun while you’re doing it.” – Joe Perry
When I get too far ahead into the future or lag behind tangled up in the past, I need not look far to be reminded to stop, breathe, laugh and have some fun right now!
Let go, be grateful and embrace today.
“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” – Mary Oliver
“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” – Gerard De Nerval
Flowers, sunrises, sunsets, children and dogs all have one thing in common. They burst with the glory of God, uninhibited. Their colors, brilliance, simplicity, innocence, and sheer joy call us back to our true selves, to a longing that won’t be silenced until we acknowledge, engage and fulfill our purpose.
Amazement is their gift to us all.
Find your vivid color, your bliss, your genuine delight and pursue it with vigilance and fervor. Gratitude requires attention and awareness of this very moment, no more, no less.
Busily going through the motions is not worthy of this one precious life. Start each day new again, filled with possibility and hope. Be amazed and let it do its work on you.
“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” – Barbara Kingsolver
GOOD NEWS! You are in control of you – your thoughts, moods, assumptions. So carefully and mindfully make right choices each day. Change your thoughts, change your world. Get beyond the “why me” and worrying mindset and meditate and take action on what is most important.
It is a guarantee – we will all have setbacks and disappointments. Everyone of us. And when we move through the grief and frustration of often times deep loss and change, there will a pivot point when you must move to what is new and next.
And when defeated by the cumulation of little things, pause, take a deep breath and push the reset button. Each day is a brand new opportunity to start again. Stop carrying all of that stuff that is dragging you down and shake it off. Gratitude and a hearty smile will change your world.
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa
“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” – Paul Cezanne
When “busy” is the only answer that you can muster when asked, “how are you?” It’s time to question the value and meaning of what you are busy with and at what expense.
Redefine the quality of your day not by the number of items checked off your “to do” list. Rather define it by depth, width and height of each day that you are awake and aware. Of moments steeped in gratitude grounded in experiences rather than mere activities.
Day 3 of no complaints, only gratitude – slow down, look around in close proximity and be in awe of the many gifts and blessings in your life right in this very minute.
“The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tzu
When the dust settles and the noise subsides, what’s present right now, front and center matters most. Let go of the stuff that pulls you to the peripheral at the expense of what’s right in front of you. The race – where to and why? If you can’t answer then drop out of the race and pursue with vigor what has real meaning and depth.
If but for a moment, pause and discover what you already know to be true and choose your days, your life, your attention, your energy, your joy. It’s front and center.
“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born.” – Mary Oliver
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Sasha is one year old today. Birthdays, weddings, funerals, anniversaries all mark days to remember and celebrate. But they not only honor the person or dog in this case, they remind us of how their presence in our life changes us, makes us better, more kind.
People and dogs enter and exit our lives in a flash. Yet their imprint and impact on our lives remain. When someone leaves, we are never the same, yet we go on while a part of us goes with them. And when someone enters our story they weave their way in and their birthday becomes our own as we are reborn to new possibilities for joy.
May we all have the joy that a dog is and a dog brings to each day. We would be better humans to be sure. Happy Birthday Sasha and me!
“Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.” – William Alexander
No matter what the season or the day of the week, there’s more underneath the surface of our daily grinding. We need to trade in the grind for joyful daily living. In the moment, present to all that is being offered and confident that beneath the four feet of snow, Spring is in there coming in due time. In the meantime, we can make snow angels and dive into the pile of fresh snow. That snow shall do its job and awaken the ground with living water. Do your job. Enjoy this day and bring that joy to others.
“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” – Sitting Bull