My cat, JOY snuggled up next to me in my bed as I settled down to take a mid-afternoon nap. I felt joy in my heart. Joy is a deep feeling of contentment within and it is at the core of everyone. It is the peaceful and serene center of Being from which we create every moment as a celebration of love, harmony and fulfillment.
When I am in the present moment, I feel joy – a carefree feeling and knowingness that all is well on the spiritual level. It is difficult to be in the present moment when my mind jumps to the future or the past, therefore missing the joy that it holds. When I am centered in the moment, I am grateful, calm, peaceful and protected.
There are so many things that bring me joy; holding a newborn baby, watching children play, planting flowers in my garden, dancing, sitting at the ocean watching the waves go in and out, spending time with family and friends, helping someone in need, being loved unconditionally, taking time for prayer and meditation.
How do we lose our joy or give it away? It is a choice. We are responsible for our own happiness and joy. We lose our joy when we:
- Compare ourselves to others
- Complain and blame others for our problems
- Beat up on ourselves and don’t feel good enough
- Do not trust a power greater than ourselves to help us
- See ourselves as victims and have a “poor me” mentality
- Hold onto resentment and are unable to forgive ourselves or others
- Believe there is lack and scarcity
- Obsess and worry about the future or the past
- Try to please everyone at the expense of ourselves
- Focus on what’s missing rather than be grateful now
Where does joy come from? I believe it comes from within. When we are connected to our Source, the God within, we experience joy. When we are connected to others, serving others, we experience joy. When we give, without any expectations in return we experience joy.
Most recently, I experienced joy when I “got out of my own way” and reached out to another who was in need. My two sons and grandchildren live out of state. My parents are both deceased and I don’t have any siblings or family in the area. I felt lonely and felt sorry for myself on Easter Sunday. As I was driving home from my friend Carol’s house, I decided to buy a plant for a woman in a nursing home that I had just met at Christmas. Mary told me that she was all alone and didn’t have any friends or relatives in the area. She had a stroke a year ago that paralyzed her and she couldn’t walk anymore.
When I walked into the nursing home on Easter Sunday, I found Mary sitting in her wheelchair with the other residents at the nurse’s station who didn’t have any visitors. They weren’t talking to one another, just kind of staring into space.
I didn’t know if Mary would remember me from Christmas, but she did. She smiled and reached out for my hand. I remarked what a beautiful day it was outside. She told me that she didn’t have anyone to take her outside to get fresh air because the nurses were too busy to take her out.ook at this character and fruit of joy from God’s most precious
Her face lit up like a Christmas tree when I asked her if she would like me to take her outside and wheel her around the nursing home. After checking with the head nurse, off we went. As we sat outside with the sun beating down on our faces, she apologized for being so emotional. “I have been here over a year and this is the first time I have been outside.” We sat and talked for awhile. She told me her life story and the tragedies she experienced. When it was time to leave, I bent down and kissed and told her I would be back.
A simple act of giving and thinking of another cured my loneliness and I experienced a deep sense of joy. There is more joy in giving than in receiving. We all have the capacity to give and love more; a smile at a stranger, calling a friend, offering to help someone we don’t know. Look for opportunities to increase your joy by being present to yourself and giving to others. Rather than remaining hostage to life’s changes and challeges, expect joy to flow to you and it will.