How are you today?
What is a typical response to “How are you today?” It’s evolved into a trite and mundane question. Genuine interest is usually low when we enter into this everyday ritual. So, it’s likely that those asking are
breaking the ice or
acting out of routine and cliché conversation.
How did the word fine become an acronym for “Feelings I’m Not Expressing?” Overuse has shifted this lovely word into a mostly meaningless default.
How can we step-up to communicate something truly meaningful and inspiring? Imagine what happens when we say:
“I am happy right now.”
“I am joyful.”
“Life is beautiful.”
Joy's Multiple Expressions
Joy softens language.
The language of joy creates attraction, approachability and an invitation to step into light. Author and blogger Scott Ginsberg says: Curiosity is a natural motivator of human engagement. There’s a certain sociological dissonance when people observe an unexpected or unexplained behavior. Especially when it’s inconsistent with their environment. (Like some random person singing out loud in the street.) And that’s the secret: Because it is dissonance which increases the probability of a memorable encounter.
Joy delights in the ordinary.
It's a call to wake up our lighter selves and make a lasting dent in our memories. When joy is out front the light within grows and seeks ways to bring it out in others. We make less room for what’s behind us (ruminating on the past) and what’s way ahead of us (contemplating the future).
Joy impacts our choices - the simplest to the most complex.
The overbearing ego assumes its formula for decision-making involves anxiety, tension and overwhelm. The cycle of insanity distances us from resolution and leads to despair, panic and uncertainty. By now, we may have determined this predictable outcome yields poor results and no reward. And yet here we are doing the same thing over and over again. Is it any wonder why stress claims a greater share of our mental and emotional selves? Joy gives permission to exercise the best part of ourselves - our imagination. Imagination helps us embrace our choices from a place of understanding and wisdom.
Joy manifests inside us.
Within our internal warehouse lies a corner of unopened boxes. Each contains a gift which can transform, illuminate and enlighten our best parts. When someone experiences joyfulness, physiological and biochemical alterations occur which encourage a sense of well-being, completely altering the negative views of life. Joy is an attitude and belief which soothes even in the most sorrowful situations. Joy comes from within; it is an internal view. It is not based on something positive happening in life, but is an attitude of the heart or spirit, says Cheryl MacDonald, Psy’D. Joy is an experience that bears interest over time. Very few experiences can offer this type of guaranteed return.
Joy aligns us with our Divine Compass.
Life is a collection of imprints, whether an interaction lasts one second or 100 years. The ego tends to relentlessly interpret these imprints through its faulty lens, thereby building up years of resentment, fear and disappointment. To mindfully change impressions into a useful teacher, we need to adjust the lens from illusion to spiritual insight. Here we can explore new perspectives including forgiveness, kindness and flexibility.
Joy longs to set us free.
When a loved one dies, we can either wallow in sadness and grief for one day or a lifetime. We can attach ourselves to the pain of loss rather than the joy of celebrating how s/he touched our hearts. We create a dark reality that seems impossible to shake off because we deny or avoid its presence. From this limited viewpoint, our inner light dims. Once we realize we cannot hold onto this heartache and emptiness, we free ourselves to seek joy. Joy's power gives us the strength to let go of these challenging emotions and feelings.
Joy's power transforms the world.
Collective joy allows compassion and fulfillment to thrive. Although suffering and pain exist in all beings, we can tap into joy by welcoming pain as a temporary and passing experience. The reason why fear seems to endure is because we choose to attach ourselves to negativity. It’s so tempting to agree with others that the world is a messy, mixed-up scene. It’s so easy to be troubled by how our children will survive in a place where bullies, prejudice and conflict are ever present. The chaos offers us a chance to turn the tables and focus on our commonality. The only immortal truth that exists in every being is Peace, Love and Joy. From this elevated vantage we can celebrate humanity.