welcome joy

Welcome joy!  What a lovely phrase… it makes my heart open and sing. Over the past several years I have been paying attention to my tendency to judge, be judgemental… toward myself, toward others.   I’ve written about this, felt into it…and am beginning to notice, with gratitude, that it seems to be softening, fading… 

One of the fruits of this work is that I find I am encountering the world (starting at home with my husband, and spreading out into the wider world) with less judgment, and a more open heart.  And, wouldn’t you know, it also seems that the universe is just giving me many opportunities to deepen in this way… As it will!  Welcome joy!

open heart

A number of years ago I read and worked with a book called Wired for Joy… my daughter and I did a workshop about this approach, and we both found it valuable.  The author, Laurel Mellin, suggests that we notice, look for, even create “joy points’ throughout our day.  

Resonating with that,  Rick Hanson recently posted a Just One Thing with this title: Welcome Joy…  about inviting joy, noticing,  inspiring joy.  Rick points out the many benefits of positive emotions in general… strengthening our immune systems, better relationships more resilience..the list is long.  And Joy is right up there near the top of the positive list.  

welcome joy

Indeed, there is nothing quite like it when joy arises.  It can be unexpected, or we can really grok, be with, the “precious ordinary” and let it sink in, and open our hearts to joy and well-being, gratitude… it’s a flow like a waterfall!   Some of my front-and-center examples : I take the time to be really present to my husband – to look in his eyes, to appreciate our journey together; I savour anything: the taste of an apple, the feeling of a gentle breeze, how about the smell of a rose?  I really look deeply, with presence, at a picture of my granddaughter playing the flute… or follow a puppy frolicking….the list is virtually endless!  Welcome joy!  

On a recent bus trip, (one of the benefits of our recent cold weather and snow was that I couldn’t cycle, so I took the bus several times :-)), I found myself sitting next to a mom with her 6 month old baby in a Snuggly, which put her right at eye level.  We caught each other’s eye, I smiled, she smiled back, then looked away.  Let’s call her April. April looked at me again, smiled again, and then reached out her index finger toward me.  Cautiously I opened my index finger toward her, and when she kept eye contact, we each moved closer, and finally touch finger tips.  Then a giggle, pulling away, then slowly we each reached out again. As this continued, she actually clasped my finger a little, and I assured the mom I had just washed my hands :-)!  

It was wholly magical, miraculously delicious, and is a “joy point” for me now that I can invoke whenever I like, and feel the pulsing of connection, love, and an open heart.  

welcome joy

What greater gift can we give, ourselves, each other, and the planet, as we move into the new decade… through challenging, scary, exciting times, full of risks and opportunities. The way our personal lives unfold, and life on our planet, will depend a lot of what we pay attention to and nurture.  

There is a wonderful old Cherokee story that offers more on this: Story of Two Wolves.   Which wolf so you feed? What gives you joy?  What opens your heart? I’d love to hear.  We’re in this together!

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook 

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