It usually happens when we are visiting a new place. We step out the door and head off in the direction that looks most exhilarating. Each time we reach another crossroads we choose the most interesting, mysterious, lively, beautiful, or unknown path. With each step our senses are awake to the experience unfolding before us. We are on an adventure and joy is our guide.
What if you did this not just on vacation, but every day? What would happen if you woke up in the morning and put your feet on the floor headed for whatever was most fulfilling and made you happy? Where would your tootsies take you?
"Whoa!" you say. "What kind of freaky hedonistic talk is that? I've got ____________." Here you fill in with your favorite objection, such as: things to do, a job, bills, people who depend on me, responsibilities.
First of all, all of us have more choice about how we live day to day than people at any other period in history (thank you 21st century!). And while we may not be able to choose absolutely every aspect of every day based on our personal Joy-O-Joy meter, we can choose how we approach each part and moment of our lives. Given this, the question becomes why would you not choose joy?
We know it's a bit of a writing cliché, but every time we take on a big concept like this we go to the dictionary seeking clarity, or at least some good synonyms. Here's what we discovered while researching the word joy:
Bingo! Joy links us to our highest aspirations and allows us to feel them deep within the core of our being. We feel connected to something bigger than ourselves and to what is essential about us. Joy is where meaning and fulfillment meet in an ecstatic burst.
Back on the path of life, think what it would mean if you were to use joy as your polestar, connecting what is most inspiring with what gives you the greatest sense of fulfillment each step of the way. What work would you want to do in the world? What would your relationships be like? How would you go about your responsibilities?
A man stands on a street corner near where we live waving a sign for a local business. Actually, he doesn't stand, Terel dances for joy with impressive abandon, hour after hour. A news article about him touched off a slew of comments from people whose lives Terel had touched through his ongoing felicity. His choice to be joyful in the moment day after day reminds us that we too have a choice.
Joy-O-Joy! Dance on, Terel! Let us follow your lead!
When has joy been your guide? Get together with a friend over your beverage of choice and share stories of those times in your life when you followed your bliss.
Where are you right now on your Joy-O-Joy meter (1-10)? If you were to move in the direction of more joy in the next moment, what would you do?
Pick a day when you have more choice than usual. At every turn, use your sense of felicity to move you. What happens?
Wishing you an audacious amount of joy!
Beth and Eric
This monthly slow essay is from Beth Meredith & Eric Storm of Create The Good Life.
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