It is YOUR responsibility to bring more JOY into the world. It really is. 🤩 Since I started working religiously with JOY my world has taken the most ENORMOUS shift - and when I say ENORMOUS I mean GIGANTIC - maybe even GINORMOUS!!!
I think my conscious commitment to joy started about 5 years ago on retreat in India. It was small changes I noticed initially but the more I worked with my commitment to joy the more joy appeared in my life. The more joy that appeared in my life, the more joyful I felt and then the more joyful things that showed up. It was a simple ripple effect.
Joy is a funny emotion that often gets confused with happiness. But they are not the same. Happiness is a low level joy that (in my opinion) is quite introspective and self-orientated. Where as joy is LOUD and feels much more active in my body. It feels expansive and, for an introvert like me, really is an emotion of connection. An emotion of connection to the outside world, to others, to Mother Gaia. Joy is an emotion that connects the external universe through a fuzzy feeling to my internal universe. It really is an intense connection that (if you are courageous enough to believe) is deeply spiritual. When you feel joy so intensely it is almost indescribable, beyond language . Do you know what I mean?
When you feel joy intensely do the corners of your mouth turn up without you consiously trying? Does your body feel good? Your mind feel clear? Your heart feel full? Do you breathe more easily? Do colours seem brighter? Do you spontaneously giggle? or weep (joyful tears)?
When you look at the ancient Greek words for happiness and joy (this one comes from Brene Brown & Anne Robertson) - happiness was used to describe the freedom of the rich from normal cares. Joy on the other-hand was the word they used to describe 'good mood for the soul'.
As a society we are so driven to believe we need to strive for more. More belongings, more love, more time. There is this limiting belief that we don't have enough and that if only we had more or our circumstances were different then we would be truly happy. But we also know in our hearts that this is not true. A Course in Miracles claims 'Heaven is a decision I must make.' We know we are privileged enough to have choice. Being joyful is a decision we can make.
In my teaching I often encourage students into their felt bodies. Taking people out of the heads, their thinking space, and into their bodies, their feeling space is really powerful way of quieting the mind. There as been recently, and still is, a spotlight on feeling the feelings you feel. Allowing our feelings to occur, giving ourselves permission to feel what shows up without pushing it away. But mostly when we do this we tend to focus on the feelings we label as negative. What if we gave just as much support to the feelings we label as positive? What if we really allowed ourselves to feel joy, happiness, contentment, satisfaction? What if we asked ourselves why it is our egos are stopping us from really feeling the good vibes?
With my work on JOY this summer I have at times often felt guilty about feeling joyful. I think someone else is going through a rough time I don’t want to be seen to be oh-so-joyful in their presence. But hang-on STOP this is exactly what I am talking about! Something in me, call it ego, is stopping me from feeling genuine joy! Guilty-joy is not joy! Guilt sits with fear and anger and resentment and judgement. Guilt makes me the victim and I am not the victim because I have the power to choose and to change. What am I resisting?
For sure we need to acknowledge the negative self, the imposter. For sure we need to feel them, so we can release them and feel the JOY that lies beneath.
So, if like me you sometimes feel guilty about being joyful then....
Come back to something that is truly JOYFUL and feel the high frequency of that joy move through you. There is nothing powerful about low frequency emotions.
Wondering how to start working with joy? Try one of these...
👉Take SMALL JOYFUL actions each day.
👉Wish joy GENUINELY for other people.
👉CELEBRATE others successes.
👉SMILE at the smallest most insignificant things that bring you joy.
👉LAUGH with other people who bring you joy!
Another yogic practice that I love to use to help lift my vibration towards JOY is:
Bhramari Pranayama or Humming Bee Breath - I love this breath technique as I can really feel the vibrations of the sounds move up my body towards my brain lifting my spirit. The vibrations also soothe the body mind from 'negative' emotions such as anxiety, worry, stress, fear. To practice as a beginner:
Sit in a comfrortable position and close your eyes.
Place your index or middle finger in the ears like a plug.
Keep the mouth gently closed, exhale and then make a deep, steady continuous humming sound like a bee.
Listen to the sound internally with the awareness focused on the center of the head.
At the end of the exhale, breathe in and repeat 5-10 times.
Once you have completed feel the resonance of the sound vibrations move through you, feel them move through your heart and out to all of the edges of your body.
I like to repeat Radiance Sutra 16 over in my mind like a mantra (make sure you speak it softly) as I tap into the vibrations of joy in my body.
Sutra 16 - The Radiance Sutras (translation by Lorin Roche)
The roar of joy that set the worlds in motion
Is reverberating in your body
And the space between all bodies.
Find that exuberant vibration
Humming in your secret places,
Streaming through the channels of delight,
Rising new in every moment.
Know you are flooded by it always.
Then I sit or lie down and allow myself to be flooded by the roar of joy.
Start today, start small and notice the impact it has on your work, your messaging, your relationships, your social media feed…
OWN the energy you bring forth! Choose to see with JOY.