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Want A Simple Formula for Joy?

A Simple Formula for Joy

What exactly is joy?

Is joy an unexpected, momentary experience?

Or, can joy be cultivated and become an ongoing way of being?

Questions about joy have been floating around my mind since I received an Akashic Recording Reading from Heather Gray.

In case, you’re not familiar with the Akashic Records, Heather describes them as

“…a soul-level dimension of consciousness that contains a vibrational record of every individual’s soul and its journey.”

So when you access the records, via an intuitive, you can gain insight, direction, and healing tailor-made for you.

I’ve enjoyed intuitive readings periodically for a good part of my adult life.  The information I receive in this manner invariably clarifies, affirms, and encourages my own soul urgings.   And sometimes that’s exactly what I need to actualize the next step on my life path.

Enjoyment?

During the reading, I asked Heather multiple questions, including  “How I can best use the later years of my life?”   She (and the records) surprised me by responding with the suggestion of enjoyment rather than a specific preoccupation.  My “task” according to the records is to enjoy these years.  That means to relax and play, show up with love and light, let go of the “shoulds,” and avoid pushing to make things happen.

I’ve never considered joy the barometer for the quality of my life.  Hard work served as my measure.  But staying busy – really busy – stressed me to the max and turned out to be a clever way to neglect my deepest wounds.  Fortunately, my body forced me to stop by creating an illness.

I think many, if not most modern people, function like I did.  They’re focused on success or external expectations and leave little room for genuine joy in their life aside from the occasional happy surprise or sense pleasure.  For example, how often do you stop to consider:

  • What does joy mean to you?
  • Are you enjoying your life?
  • How can you add more joy to your life?

What Does Joy Mean?

Joy!  Enjoyment!  What do they mean?  People like me – the nose to the grindstone types – need a dictionary definition to get us moving in the right direction.

The word enjoyment, according to my Scrivener dictionary, means to take pleasure in something.  Just reading this list of synonyms lightens my heart:

“Pleasure, fun, entertainment, amusement, diversion, recreation, relaxation; delight, happiness, merriment, joy, gaiety, jollity; satisfaction, gratification, liking, relish, gusto; humorous delectation.”

The word joy means a feeling of pleasure or happiness.

So joy, henceforth, will be my measure and the deciding factor for engaging in an activity.  Or will it?

This brings me to the question at hand:

  • Do I select situations that bring me joy and reject ones that do not, or do I bring joy into whatever circumstance I’m in?

In the first scenario, you depend on other people and external circumstances to bring you joy, which means an unreliable experience, often out of your control.  In the second approach, you work with your own mind to cultivate a bubbling stream of joy within, one that’s accessible to you most of the time.

I say, “most of the time,” because life contains a mix of emotions.  Indeed, the Taoist sage Chuang Tzu coined the term 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows to represent the countless shifting emotions experienced over a lifetime.  Although most of us long for a fairytale life, do you know anyone who’s really living one?  It’s unrealistic to expect you can sustain a single, static emotional state all the time.

Nevertheless, I believe:

Joy can be the primary color in your emotional kaleidoscope if you choose it again and again.

That’s what I’m practicing joy.

My Simple Formula for Joy

This is the simple formula I’ve created to help me bring out the joy.  Maybe it will help you too!

1. Remember Joy

It’s interesting that the definition of enjoyment is to “take” pleasure.  The “take” indicates to me that you have to actively engage and consciously tap into joy.  This means intentionally remembering joy several times each day, or you’ll fall into your old joyless habits.

Here are some ways to remember joy during your day.

  • I start first thing in the morning.  As soon as I wake up, I look at my mind and try to tap into the energy of joy.  You can use an event like this – waking up, taking a shower, eating a meal, tea time – as a trigger to remember joy.
  • You can use a timer on your phone to beep and remind you to remember joy.  Then take pleasure in that very moment.
  • Pin joyful slogans in visible places around your house and at work to help you remember to awaken joy.  As soon as you see the reminder, activate joy.  Breathe in the moment, enjoy the sights, and tune into the pleasant sounds around you.

2.  Stay in the Moment

Discontent lies in the past and worry resides in the future.  Practice awareness of the current moment instead. Connect with your true self, the part of you that’s simply aware, beyond likes and dislikes.  Feel satisfied to just be and see the amusement in all the unnecessary fuss the mind wants to create.

3.  Drop Pettiness

Pettiness might be the fastest way to put a dent in joy.  It’s that voice in your head that always wants to criticize the smallest, unimportant detail.  It’s the one prone to irritation when someone doesn’t behavior according to your strict expectations.

Don’t get worked up over the trivial.  Choose joy instead.

4.  Open the Heart

An open heart rejoices when others succeed.  An open heart feels joy when someone has a new dress, pretty hair-do, or a special friend in tow.  An open heart gets high on seeing others laugh, play, and indulge in fun.

Don’t close in on yourself.  Open your eyes, enjoy the goodness around you, and rejoice in the triumphs – big or small – of others.

5.  The Way Life Is

Life is impermanent, uncertain, and sometimes seems unfair.  Fighting against what unfolds, however, only makes life more unbearable.

“Be like an old wise man, watching children play.”  – Dudjom Rinpoche

Children often take their play very seriously, but a wise old man knows it’s all a game.  When you accept life as it is, but lighten up on seeing it as so solid and real, you’re able to experience a spaciousness of mind that tends to be naturally blissful.  This understanding also gives you more perspective when you meet sorrows in life.

Of course, it makes sense to let go of unhappy situations when you can like a unfulfilling job.  But, that’s not always possible.   Therefore, wouldn’t it be better to emphasize internally sourced joy?  Wouldn’t it be better to be able to find joy even when the externals are not perfect?  Then you won’t be dependent on externals and can let joy sparkle from within.

I’m probably the worst person to write about joy since I’m just a beginner with it.  I know there are many other ways to stimulate joy.  This is just my plan.  Wish me luck with it!

Where do you stand with joy?  Is it a central force in your life?

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

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25 Comments

  1. Hi, Sandra! As you know, I’m not online much these days, but you were on my mind this morning, so I popped over to see what’s up. And of course, I loved your topic today!

    These are all great ways to develop habits of joy. Any one of the practices you describe will set you on the path of joy and will draw in other practices along the way.

    You have described also the general attitude towards joy–it’s something that many don’t value in the midst of busy lives focused on production and accomplishment. Many, especially in Western culture, have some ambivalence about joy, perhaps seeing it as frivolous or undeserved. In my years of focusing on this topic, I found that these “shadow beliefs” are a primary obstacle to allowing us to benefit from whatever practices we adopt to bring more joy into our lives.

    Yet research shows that joy benefits not only many aspects of our own lives, but also the lives of those around us and our communities. Indeed, being more joyful is one of the most socially responsible things we can do!

    So there–ha! I hope your readers will give themselves permission to be joyful and then implement the many helpful suggestions you have offered. Thanks for being the Johnny Appleseed of joy today!

    • What a wonderful surprise. So happy to “see” you, Galen. I think of you too.

      Happiness is your thing and it’s so interconnected to joy, isn’t it! So I know there are your 10 steps to happiness and many more that will light up joy. I appreciate the depth of your understanding of the ways to can restrain ourselves. Isn’t that ironic! The very quality we all need in our life as evidenced by the research you mention and our own personal experience.

      You’re welcome. And may you have a joyful day! It’s so lovely to see you. Come by any time!

  2. MaryJo Comins

    A small park up the hill from my house has a nicely carved wood sign with the Mother Teresa quote, “Joy is a net of love that captures souls.” From your post, Sandra, I see that our individual joy lovingly captures our own soul first and expands from there. A fun side note is that I had planned to walk up and around that park after checking my emails — where I found your blog! I’ll enjoy doing that now…

  3. I have set joy as an over-all life’s intention because it is healing for me and healing for anyone who gets around me. One of my best friends (and soul-food provider) is Joy (of Facts of Joy) and when I am in a situation that is not joyful or not potentially joyful, I think of how Joy would approach it and that always reminds me that there is joy in everything if there is joy in me! 🙂 She has taught me how to shift energy if I want to and that is such a valuable skill!
    So, yes to joy, Sandra! Keep on reaching for it every moment. And one of my best friends is very joyful (she is also my helper in my art business) and laughs ALL of the time and has one of those laughs that engages everyone around her! So hang out with joyful people too, Sandra! Love and joy to you!

    • Dear Jean,

      I love this phrase, “…there is joy in everything if there is joy in me.” That’s the essence of this article in a few words. Joy (from Facets of Joy) is amazing, and the ability to shift energy makes a huge difference in our experience of life. Yes, I’ll keep opening to joy. And thanks for this suggestion of hanging out with joyful people. Joy can be contagious, right? So happy you have joy down. Love to you!

  4. I *love* your ‘new task’! The energy of joy is something so many people save for special occasions, yet it is naturally heart-healing as well as a wonderful connector and manifesting energy. I hope you continue to share your experience with joy with us!

    I’m learning to embody the energy of joy. Joyful has become my natural state of being. First, I cultivate joy within, as I open my day, then I connect with it as I move through my day. There are some external variables that are more challenging to experience joy in but I notice at this point in my life, I naturally ‘bring joy’ with me into them. The way I ‘measure results’ is the peace in my body, lightness in my heart and ease in manifesting/creating.

    There are many ways to amplify joy. One of the easiest, as you shared here, is to choose resonance. I recommend playing with that first, so joy becomes comfortable, then to practice feeling and being joy in non-resonant spaces or with non-resonant energies. (Most of all, have fun with it!)

    Some people say there are spaces in life where ‘joy doesn’t belong’ – but I have found that genuine joy fits everywhere. I used light humor to buoy the spirits of my family as I held my grandmother’s hand while she physically passed on. I play with my creative expressions for work and I build in rewards for myself as I do my work. I still play with my kids although they are teens and we have spoken about the fact that they wouldn’t at this age choose to play if I wasn’t there with them.

    Joy has become an essential piece of the foundation from which I choose to live. An affirmation I currently use is “I enjoy collaborating, creating and celebrating, daily, with consistently abundant money, love and joy together.”

    • Joy, thanks for this primer on how you work with joy. Of course, this would be your supreme practice. I love the details of how you go about it everyday.

      I tend to agree with you that we can bring joy into almost any space and often it will change the quality of that space. Of course, it’s a matter of our own skillfulness. Joy has different expressions and we can find the right one even for a more somber space.

      Isn’t it funny that your kids would no longer play if it wasn’t for you! I’m glad the three of you have fun together.

      I love this affirmation. So comprehensive. Thank you, Joy! You could definitely write the book on joy. 🙂

  5. Joy is a wonderful task to have to be and to enjoy. Many say it is our highest feeling and I believe that when we sit and just be whether through just being still, in prayer of meditation we come closer to allowing ourself to fill with joy xx

  6. I am lucky enough to work with 3- 5 year olds. Joy is a daily emotion in class; little ones experience it more easily than us! That’s why I loved the quote you wrote, “Be like an old wise man, watching children play.” – Dudjom Rinpoche. Love your formula for finding joy as well! Thank you, Sandra, for always inspiring me!

    • Hi Betsy,

      Isn’t interesting that children experience joy more readily than adults! We adults have the capacity but we’ve let it go to a large degree. I’m glad you get to have the joy of being about 3-5 year olds each day. Thanks for your sweet words, Betsy.

  7. “Do I select situations that bring me joy and reject ones that do not, or do I bring joy into whatever circumstance I’m in?” – Excellent question, Sandra. I think most of us expect happy situations to be those that we instinctively enjoy, whereas in reality, most situations are “grey” from the outset. However, as you point out, the happiness you find in those situations comes from within. This is an important point to keep in mind – it’s so easily forgotten!

    • Yes, I agree, I think this is the most important point, whether we look for joy outside ourselves or within. I’m glad that resonates for you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  8. Sandra,

    I like your explanation of enjoyment as “taking” joy. It is an active, conscious process that we have to practice daily. Our brains have a natural negativity bias which will steer us in that direction if left unchecked. Love your tips for turning our brains in a more joyful direction.

    “Be like an old wise man, watching children play.” – Dudjom Rinpoche Makes me smile. So true!

    • Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for sharing some brain science to back this up! So true, we need to steer our mind. That quote is really resonating for people. I’m glad you like it.

  9. Hi Sandra,

    I am new here and I enjoyed reading the simple yet very powerful tips about joy. Sometimes we forget these and lost the moment.

    In order for me to experience true happiness, I have let go of toxic relationships in my life or at least set a healthy boundary and I had to forego bad habits.

    Thank you for such an inspirational read.

    Luna

    • Welcome Luna! I’m glad you liked the article. And thanks for sharing your own experience of steps that have brought you more joy. Sharing our own story can make a difference in another person’s life. Look forward to seeing you again.

  10. I finally got to dive into your post Sandra. What an incredibly inspiring read. I’m off to find some joyful quotes!

  11. This is a such a wonderful reminder to be conscious about bringing joy into our lives. For me the idea of putting reminders around is always helpful. Just seeing that visual reminder can make a difference. Thanks for the uplifting read!

    • I always find remembering the tricky part, Cathy. I’m glad you like the idea of visual reminders. They can make a big difference as you say. Thanks for your thoughts.

  12. I love the idea of tuning into the energy of joy first thing every morning.
    I needed this little reminder. Thanks!

    • It’s a good one for me too, Corinna because I tend to be sleep and a bit tired in the morning. So I try to part the haze and reach for joy. I’m glad you like it too.

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