Joy has never come very easy for me, despite my name. I feel content, at peace, even inspired a lot of the time, but sometimes I have to work at feeling a sense of uplifting effervescence. And especially after studying Chinese Medicine, I now know that joy is an essential ingredient in overall lifelong wellness.
Recently, after several days of having a full schedule, I realized I had not seen sunlight in almost a week. My lungs felt weak. My hips were tight. My workaholic attitude was showing through: “Must. Crank. Through.” Then I stopped and saw the trajectory that this pattern was quickly going to turn me into: overwhelmed, tired, cranky, sick. If I didn’t pause to insert some joy into my life, I was going to turn into a hot mess. So I began being vigilant about seeking out joy. By vigilant, I mean intentional and protective about making moments of bliss a priority each day.
What this looks like for me is:
- taking walks – soaking up some sun and fresh air
- pursuing color – color in my pen ink, color in my clothes, color in nature
- seeking out laughter – having interesting conversations, looking up adorable pet videos online
- eating something delicious – slices of fresh apples and cheese from the farmer’s market
- praying for help – sometime I need a perspective greater than my own to return to the bigger picture of love and joy
- schedule in stuff I love to do – listen to podcasts, going for a drive, retail therapy
I can say that, after a few days of this practice, I know it makes a difference; I feel lighter in my body, mind, and spirit.
“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in through the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heart-breaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” – L.R. Knost