Follow Your Joy Sparks

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Joy Sparks turn your ride through life into a road trip of passion and enthusiasm. Follow your joy sparks. They are everywhere, like guiding stars in the sky, lighting your way to a happy life.

r.k.

I wish I were more like Winnie the Pooh.  Whether he’s visiting with a friend or going on an adventure, he follows his joy. He flows through life. When he encounters a problem, he sees it with clear, innocent eyes. He carries no “baggage” with him. He approaches every situation with an open mind and an open heart. And yet he solves problems and gets more done than wise Owl or busy Rabbit.

One of Pooh’s gifts is that he does not resist what is. He is fully present in his “now.” He isn’t stuck in the past or worrying about the future. And he doesn’t need a particular result or outcome in order to be happy. He just follows his “joy sparks” and takes life one day at a time.

We can follow our “sparks” too. Joy sparks turn our ride through life into a road trip of passion and enthusiasm. When we notice our feelings and let them flow peacefully through us, we begin to see that joy sparks are everywhere, like guiding stars in the sky, lighting our way to a happy life.

Sometimes sparks show up as, “I want this so badly.” Sometimes they feel like a soft whisper in our ear. And other times they show up as an exciting idea that we can’t get out of our head. One thing sparks have in common is that they come from love. This is one of the reasons we can trust our joy sparks. They are always focused on betterment, never the hurting or destruction of another. They never come from malice.

What I know for sure… is that when you follow your joy, magic happens. Living a life according to what you “must” do or “should” do is not a recipe for happiness. I know, I’ve tried it that way and it doesn’t work out. But when we open our hearts and start looking for our “joy sparks,” we find ourselves guided to a path that is uniquely and beautifully our own.

Your Top Ten Desires

Jospeh Campbell once wrote, “If you follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

Today, I want you to write down your top ten desires as if they have already happened. Describe each in detail. This activity is a great way to tap into your “joy sparks.”

I keep my top ten list in my wallet and whenever I think about it, I take it out and visualize each wish on it as if it has already come true. Several years ago I was diagnosed with macular degeneration, so on my “top ten desires” list I wrote:

“Thank you for my healthy eyes. The macular degeneration is gone and my eyes are now healthy. It feels so good not to have to worry about my eyesight. Thank you for my healthy eyes and healthy vision.”  

About six months later, I went to an eye specialist and had my eyes thoroughly examined. The doctor found no sign of macular degeneration.

You can also include your children’s desires on your list. Perhaps you might write something like, “Thank you so much for my children’s happy lives. They are each thriving in their own way and are happy and healthy.”

What will you put on your list? What are your top ten desires?

Visualize the entries on your list again and again, as if they have already come true. Focus on how good you feel. Take some time with this exercise and do some deep thinking about what you really want. For many people, this is hard work. We live in a society that tells us what we must do and what we should do. But when is the last time anyone asked you what you want to do?

Be sure to write your desires down in past tense. If you write them in future tense, you can put yourself under pressure to achieve them. But if you write them in past tense, as if they have already happened…you relax, you start to believe, you smile, and you let that wish come to you.

With gratitude in your heart, think about what you really want and describe it as though it has already happened. Begin each desire with the words, “Thank you for_______.”

The Peaceful Water You’ve Been Seeking

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“Noticing and releasing our feelings as they come up, softens the talking in our mind, giving us space and allowing us to better understand our self, others, and the world around us.”

r.k. & m.m.g.

Have you ever noticed that there is a voice in your head that talks pretty much ALL of the time? If you have ever tried to meditate, you’ll know how challenging it can be to go 15 minutes in total silence. This voice in our head comments on everything.

It’s like having a radio on in the background. We get so used to it, we forget it’s on until we tune in to it. A popular phrase these days is, “I don’t have the bandwidth to take that on right now.” There’s this feeling that our lives are so full that we can’t take on anything more. But when our inner talking is reduced we find ourselves with lots of extra bandwidth and we can do what we want to do, without feeling overwhelmed.

If you’ve ever experienced a quiet mind, you know what a joy and relief that is. Suddenly you see and hear so much more! And you can connect more deeply with others and really take in what they are saying, because there is nothing in the background to distract you.

What we know about joy and our “inner radio”…
Our mind’s natural state is one of quiet. When our mind is quiet we experience less stress and anxiety because there is less “noise” demanding our attention and energy. We become more “present” in each moment and this leads to more joy, more clarity, and more “flow”. In those beautiful moments when our “inner radio” is quiet, our consciousness, our awareness, and our capacities are expanded.


“What Was I Just Feeling?”

“Noticing” is a powerful form of mindfulness because it puts a little distance between you and your feelings. You become aware of what you are feeling, but you are not attached to those feelings. This noticing is important because oftentimes our internal radio is triggered by our feelings.

We have found that a busy mind is one of the things that can diminish our happiness. When our minds are constantly filled with thoughts, it may not allow us space to feel joy. A technique that Rebecca has been experimenting with is releasing feelings as they come up. She has found that by doing this, the “inner radio” becomes quieter and it opens the mind for clearer thinking, planning, and dreaming.

When you notice that your “inner radio” is on, ask yourself, “What was I just feeling?” Notice the feeling that came before the thought. It’s a very fast process and looks something like this:

  1. You notice that your mind is talking. Perhaps it is saying something like, “I wonder what I should eat for dinner.” (You might think that this is an idle thought, but possibly it is triggered by a feeling of unease.)
  2. You pause and ask yourself, “What was I just feeling? Was I feeling hungry, bored, annoyed, worried? Aha! I was feeling worried. I was worrying about my weight and trying to decide what I should or should not eat.”
  3. Relax and visualize the worried feeling moving through you and out of you.

Keep noticing and releasing your feelings. A quiet mind is a gift and will bring you much joy. Perhaps before, you found yourself in the “middle” of your thoughts but now you are looking at them from a little “distance.” You see that thoughts come and go, and you make the life-changing discovery that you are not your thoughts. You are much more. And this is the peaceful water you have been seeking.


Want more Joy?

Read: What we know for sure about Bugs, Butterflies, and Joy.
https://journaling.com/articles/what-we-know-for-sure-about-bugs-butterflies-and-joy/

Read: What a difference simple Joys make.
https://journaling.com/articles/what-a-difference-simple-joys-make/

Use: Joy Journal – A Guided Journaling Experience
https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Journal-Make-Daily-Experience-ebook/dp/B00A4SGIN6/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Joy+journal+rebecca&qid=1603320595&sr=8-2


We would love to hear about your experience with this practice and invite you to reply to this email. We have found it to be an ongoing process, but well worth the effort.

Sending you much joy,

– Rebecca & Marilyn

What We Know for Sure About Bugs, Butterflies and Joy

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“Noticing and releasing our feelings as they come up keeps the ‘windshield of our mind’ clear. This lets in more light and allows us to experience life, less through the lens of our personal ‘stuff’,and more through the lens of openness and wholeness.”

R.K. & M.M.G.

When we are born it’s as if we are given a car to take us through life and this car has a shiny clean windshield. Then one day we are going along and someone says something unkind to us. “Ping,” it’s as if a bug has attached itself to the glass. A little later down life’s road something beautiful happens and we cling to that good feeling. “Ping,” a butterfly has attached itself to the glass. Before we know it, our shiny clean windshield is covered with bugs and butterflies.  Now, when we encounter someone or something, our experience of it is changed because we are seeing it through the filter of our buggy windshield.

Avoiding the bad and clinging to the good alters how we experience our NOW. The painful events become magnified because they remind us of past painful events. And clinging too tightly to past joys can keep us from experiencing new joys.

Our mind’s natural state is one of quiet. When our mind is quiet we experience less stress and anxiety because there is less “noise” demanding our attention and energy. We become more “present” in each moment and this leads to more joy, more clarity, and more “flow”. In those beautiful moments when our “inner radio” is quiet, our consciousness, our awareness, and our capacities are expanded.


Notice, Name, Relax, Release

We are so excited to introduce you to a practice we call “Notice, Name, Relax, Release.” We,  Rebecca and Marilyn, have found it to be life-changing.

  • You Notice your feelings as they come up.
  • You Name what it is you are feeling. I’m feeling… anxious/tense/afraid/fatigued/happy/insecure/nervous/irritated/angry/annoyed/content/sad/proud.
  • You Relax.
  • You Release the feeling and let it move through you and out of you.

People experience “releasing” in different ways. Some picture themselves mentally “leaning back”, giving the feeling enough space to come up and move through them. Other people feel a warming in their torso or experience the releasing as a sigh.

Try to release not only your “bugs” but also your “butterflies.”  There is no need to cling to the good. There are many more butterflies coming your way. Picture a closed fist versus an open hand. When we allow good feelings and happy moments to move through us, we are open to the flow of life.

One of the reasons this practice is so powerful is because it brings you into your now. When a feeling comes up, you notice it and you let it move through you. This keeps your “windshield” clean and keeps you from collecting new “bugs” or “butterflies.” You are not avoiding your feelings or suppressing them. Instead, you are practicing awareness, which helps you to become more centered and whole.


What are you feeling right now?

  • Throughout the day today, ask yourself every once in awhile, “What am I feeling right now?” Select one word that fits that feeling. Then let that feeling move through you and out of you. The more you do this, the greater the benefits.
  • We invite you to share your experience with Notice, Name, Relax, Release, in the comment field below.

Want More Joy?

Read: What a Difference Simple Joys Make
https://journaling.com/articles/what-a-difference-simple-joys-make/

Use: Joy Journal – A Guided Journaling Experience
https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Journal-Make-Daily-Experience-ebook/dp/B00A4SGIN6/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Joy+journal+rebecca&qid=1603320595&sr=8-2

Listen to: Breathing in Full Sentences: Writing as a Spiritual Practice
https://journaling.com/articles/breathing-in-full-sentences-journal-writing-as-a-spiritual-practice-with-christina-baldwin/

What a Difference Simple Joys Make

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When we turn our attention to what we love, what we appreciate, and what we find beautiful, the conversation moves from what’s not working to what is working. And that is a wonderful place to be.

– R.K. & M.M.G

Simple Joys

Joy is incredibly powerful. Even simply noticing the beauty of a flower or a gentle breeze can elevate us and expand our awareness of what’s around us and what’s possible. When we are in joy, everything is a miracle and there is seldom a moment that does not delight us.
 
One of the fascinating things about joy is how varied it is. Sometimes it sounds as loud as a horn and other times it is as quiet as a whisper. Sometimes it’s so subtle you almost miss it, and other times it fills you with the majesty of God.
 
A few years ago, Rebecca was in a bookstore signing copies of her book, Joy Journal, and she overheard a woman talking. “It’s fine for her to talk about joy. Joy is probably easy for her.” Alas, if that were only the case. Is there anyone on this planet who has experienced only joy?

Where are you on the joy scale right now?

Some people feel like joy is something they don’t deserve and they have a hard time letting it in. For others, joy has disappeared suddenly because of a traumatic event. If you are “deep in the well” or having a hard time, joy is the ladder that gets you out of that well. It can be challenging, but look closely and find something every day that brings you joy. Those moments of recognition and appreciation are what get you through the hard times.
 
If you are already experiencing a lot of joy, we are so happy for you. Keep going. One thing about joy is that the more you turn your attention to it, the more you have. When you are in joy, you know instinctively that this is where you are meant to be. That this is your natural state of being.

Know this, for sure, about you and joy…
You deserve to be happy. Everyone does. Just the fact that you are alive means that joy is your birthright. You don’t have to earn it. You don’t have to be worthy of it. We know that life can be challenging. But find your way back to joy as quickly as you can. Don’t let unhappiness become your normal. Life is precious. We, Rebecca and Marilyn, have been through some big ups and downs and we’ve discovered that even in the hard times, there is joy. If you are out of sync with joy, today is the day you step up and reclaim your right to a happy life.

Joy is Your Natural State

We treat happiness as if it is something that happens to us – something that is out of our control. But if someone said to you, “Could you be happy for the next five minutes?” You would probably answer, “Yes.”

We’ve been conditioned to think that happiness is a reaction. Something good happens and we feel good. Something bad happens and we feel bad. But joy is who you really are and you can experience happiness and joy on a daily basis. Marianne Williamson once said that, “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”

Today, notice the simple joys in your life. Some joys we have in common and some are uniquely our own. One of Rebecca’s favorite joys is, “My morning cup of chai, in a mug so big you could take a bath in it. I love holding that warm cup in my hands and breathing in the spicy scent of cinnamon and nutmeg.” Marilyn’s favorite simple joy is, “Sitting out on the patio and looking at all the colorful flowers around me while my cat, Willa, sits purring on my lap.”

If you get a chance, ask a friend or relative what their simple joys are. If they’re not sure what you mean, here are some examples. “Simple joys are little things that make you smile or help you to relax. Like a warm chocolate chip cookie, a sweet memory, a favorite TV show, a lit candle, or shooting baskets in the driveway and the ball goes in with that perfect “swish” sound.”

When we turn our attention to what we love, what we appreciate, and what we find beautiful, the conversation moves from what’s not working to what is working. And that is a wonderful place to be.


Let’s celebrate the power of simple joys…

  • Think about your day. What are some of the things that bring you joy?
  • What is your favorite simple joy?
  • We would love to hear about your joys and invite you to share in the comment area below.

Want More Joy?

5 Ways Journaling Boosts Happiness and Well-Being:
https://journaling.com/articles/five-ways-journaling-boosts-happiness-well-being-with-nancy-scherlong/
 
3 Ways Journal Planners Cultivate Happiness:
https://journaling.com/articles/three-ways-journal-planners-cultivate-happiness-with-mo-seetubtim/

Make joy a daily experience with Journaling.com’s guided journal, “Joy Journal.”
https://amzn.to/3dMM87N