Can we enjoy life more? Would life be better if we worked less and had more money? If we got fit and lost 20 pounds? If we had a nicer house and car? Would life be better if it was different? The positive side of not enjoying life “right now as it is,” is that it can keep us moving toward what we believe will be a better life. And moving towards our best life is good! The flipside of not enjoying life right now, is that we’re not enjoying life!! Think how many hours, days and years may have gone by … waiting for 5 o’clock, for example?!! That’s a lot of unhappy hours! Or waiting to be rich? That could take a lifetime or longer. Or waiting to be super-fit and famous? We might waste our whole life!!!
Joy is FUEL for life.
I believe that joy is the fuel that makes life worth living. Without it, I feel grouchy, overwhelmed, sad, and hopeless—I resent being alive. My greatest tool to inspire and encourage me and to feel GOOD, is to experience joy as often as possible.
How can we experience more joy?
Well, we can start by not shutting joy out. Yes, it’s possible to shut joy out—I’ve done it! Have you ever had something really great happen, but you weren’t able to enjoy it because you were angry, hurt, sad or stressed? Joy might be knockin’ at the door, but if we’re peaved, chances are we won’t even open the door. “Uggh! I’m not getting up no way no how!” we might think. Behind that door might be Jesus, Julia Child and the Supremes—and it wouldn’t matter. All the joy would just have to wait. As the Beatles sang, “Someone’s knockin’ at the door … somebody’s ringin’ the bell … do me a favor, open the door, and let (joy) in.”
My experience last week, I had a prime opportunity to open my door to joy. It was during an hour and a half commute. Although I could have chosen at least five reasons why I would not enjoy that ride—my A/C was broken, no work was getting done, the radio stations were playing crummy tunes, I was tired and hungry, I was aware but didn’t really notice these things much. More than anything, I noticed that I was not enjoying the ride. So, I chose to get curious and look for joy around me. I wondered, ‘where is joy on this road that I had travelled a hundred times before?’
Well, probably at no surprise to you–it was right in front of me! As I rolled around a bend on Highway 72, I was filled with delight and started to laugh. Right before me was a giant field of yellow flowers!!! It … was … gorgeous. I stopped the truck, leapt out and ran to meet the yellow faces, just like a little girl. I enjoyed every second of that 20 minutes in the field!!! And I wondered, how many fields had I already passed before I opened my door?
My choice to experience joy in that moment during my ride changed how I felt about the rest of my day and life in general. After I chose to enjoy what life had right in front of me, I felt hope that I could experience more joy throughout the rest of the day—even though it would be full of tasks. I felt hope that I could chose as many joyful moments as I wanted! And that gave me the willpower to make healthy choices in my areas of weakness later in the day.
Will you fill up your tank?
Where is your JOY gauge? Are you willing to open your door to joy and get curious about ways to fill up your “tank?” Please share your thoughts, so we may grow in joy, hope and willpower together …
Always with Love,