A Choice

So.  Bottom line.  We are not free from problems.  Adding to that, many of us are said to have more than our fair share.  And, yet, this is where choice comes in.  On one end of the spectrum there is the choice to hold on to a negative attitude which then darkly colors one's existence. On the opposite end, is the choice of those who are cheerful and happy, even when the situation surrounding them is simply not.  Ultimately, the choice is not about the situation, but rather our emotional response.  

Henry Nouwen, in one of his morning meditations from Bread for the Journey, talks about Choosing Joy.  He asks, what brings the joy that we so desire?  Is it that some are lucky while others simply have none?  Nouwen suggests that it comes in the choice.  In fact, two people can be a part of the same difficult event but choose to live it very differently.   One individual chooses to trust that what occurred, even in its pain, holds a promise.  This promise cracks open possibility and opportunity that would not have otherwise been seen.  The other chooses despair.  This despair, which contains no hope, funnels down into the darkness of destruction.   

Choosing gratitude is NOT about the denial of life's difficulties.  Rather, it is an informed assessment that, despite problems or issues, life IS a treasure and it IS worth living.  Making a choice pulls you out of that reptilian part of your brain built on the use of fear as a survival tool and into a more rational part that opens you into possibilities.  The turning of your mind lets you lean into life.  Accessing the wonderment of life opens you into the blossoming of abundance. 

Gratitude is a choice.  A turning to abundance.  There is nothing to lose and everything to gain. So, go ahead, claim it!  

The Most Underrated Ways To Claim Your Joy This Winter

source: flickr

source: flickr

The winter season, with its dark and cold days can, at times, take on the aura of heaviness and melancholy, seemingly holding joy out of reach for many.  Coming out of a holiday period bursting with high price tags, difficult travel, and relationship complexity only adds salt to a perceived wound.  It is almost unnatural to think that joy could be easily claimed.  And, yet…that possibility is alive in your journey!

The power of joy is found in the reality that its equation is unique to every individual’s makeup and connected with what we universally share in our humanity.  So, how do we begin?

The beauty of the question begins in the recognition that claiming your joy starts as a journey of discovery.  Allow your journey to begin with claiming your Map of Intention and walking with a Rucksack of Gratitude. 

Intention is the daily naming of what you want to feel in your day.  Begin when you arise each day and listen in to what is coming up-thoughts and feelings.  As you listen and feel, ask yourself if they will serve you today?  You make a choice to name where you want to go. 

Due to a difficult conversation the night before, I woke in a place of sadness.  To move forward with my day, I am going to treat myself, and those around me, with love and compassion reflecting my hope for the world.  By writing it down and carrying that intention with me, I can access it periodically to re-remind myself how I want to be in the world and with my day.  In addition, I will choose to give space to myself after my morning tea to reflect on my thoughts about the prior evening to find my truth. 

I then follow that experience up with a few minutes of gratitude refection.  During those few minutes, I write down three things that I am deeply grateful for in my life.  As I list out those three things, giving them the opportunity to grow in love and thanksgiving inside, they feed my internal energy bucket.  I am better able to move in my day full and from a place of gratitude.

A final piece to my beginning journey is treating myself in the living of my day.  Just as your pet craves care and attention, so too does the animal body that is your own!  Treat yourself as you move through life! 

source: flickr

source: flickr

A treat is anything that brings a deep smile to your face and feeds the senses of your body.  Create a list for each of your senses and what is deemed deeply wonderful.  It could be an extra snuggle with a loved one, to the enjoyment of a wonderfully scented lotion lathered on your body, to picking up an extra musical cut on iTunes from your favorite group to meeting a friend at your favorite lunch spot.  This should be done as many times a day that your body calls for it, but a minimum of three.  Treats allow you to claim your path to joy in the enjoyment of existence. 

Are these first few steps simple?  Easy?  Absolutely!  Begin to awaken yourself to yourself.  Claim and begin to discover your journey to joy!

Need Help Claiming Joy? We're starting the Career Joy Journey: A Course On Claiming Your Path With Eyes Wide Open beginning January 21, 2015. 

As we embrace the New Year, we create the opportunity to open to our deeper self, claim the mosaic of our life and discover our journey to joy.  While those ideas seem quite lofty and maybe overwhelming or untouchable in the everydayness of life, why should our journey be anything less!?!

This journey is the finding of your joy as you learn to ground yourself in your deeper beauty of yourself that can enable forward movement.  Come, dive in and play for 6 weeks! You and a small group of women will discover their journey to joy in the “career” of their life.  Career, in its broadest sense, is the course of action a person takes over a lifetime.  Tapping into your joy enables the process of opening yourself to this much bigger, deeper place of career.