"Ever since there have been human beings, they have given themselves over to too little joy. That alone my friends, is our original sin. I should only believe in a God who knows how to dance." – Henri Matisse
Don't we all want a little more joy in our lives? Living in our chaotic world it's easy to get caught up in every emotion but joy. Someone who is truly joyful doesn't get hooked into what's wrong with our world. It doesn't mean they don't care. It means they don't live in fear. It's impossible to be fearful and joyful at the same time.
How to feel joy and dance with life:
- Call forth feelings of love and appreciation for yourself. Everybody has days when they feel unworthy of love. Think of a child you love and transfer those loving feelings to yourself. Let the warm and heartfelt feeling blanket you from head to toe.
- Find pleasure in simple things. It's easy to live a simple life when you can find appreciation for simple things. Feelings of lack come from overlooking the pleasure of a cold drink, a hug, a new book or a simple blade of grass.
- Stay out of debt. Debt is one of the leading causes of emotional and psychological stress. Last year I decided to eliminate one purchase a month. In January it was designer coffee, in February it was magazines, in March it was new clothes and as the 2009 comes to an end I rarely have any unnecessary purchases.
- How are you giving back to life? Do something altruistic and fun. This year we donated money to "Wounded Warriors" and "The Smile Train." In 2010 we are going to work with wwww.peanutbutterplan.org. People gather to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and then hand them out to the homeless.
- Forgive yourself and others. Is someone in your life you need to forgive and can't or won't for some reason? Become aware of the story you tell yourself about this person. Next, drop the story. Everyone deserves another chance. Resentment is like having a ball and chain around you ankle that weighs you down. Choose to begin with a clean slate each morning.
- Eliminate gossip in your life. For the next 24 hours only speak positively about others. Tiger Woods and his family is an example of gossip gone wrong. In order for Tiger to heal his life he needs our support and prayers not our gossip and insane inquiry of details.
- Avoid unhappy people. Refuse to be in the presence of people who bring you down or deplete your energy. Surrounding yourself with happy and successful people sounds selfish. It's not. It's one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.
- Get off the pity pot. Drop your story about your past. It's impossible to be happy if you blame others for your life circumstances. You aren't responsible for what happened to you in your childhood. You are responsible for how you handle it today
- Find hobbies that make time stand still. In our busy lives many of us don't allow time to play or get creative. Pursuing a hobby is a joyful gift to your self.
- Learn to accept constructive criticism. I was twenty two years old, out-of-control and an immature mother when my brother-in-law, Paul, looked me in the eyes and said, "you need help." With a few months I decided to get counseling. Because I didn't take it personally his comment changed my life.
- Live by the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Being able to put myself in another's shoes has allowed me to be kind, generous and caring when I haven't wanted to be. We are all on the same path doing the best we know how to do.
- Choose calm over drama. It's easy to get caught up in what is going on around you. Inner peace is being able to remain centered in any kind of difficulty.
- Focus on good. Begin every morning by writing down five things that are right in your world. Today I have my health, my home, a car that runs, food in my refrigerator and people who love me. When we focus on good it multiplies.
- Change your routine. We are creatures of habit. Take an alternative route to work, change your cologne and sleep on the other side of the bed. This expands creativity and allows you see things in a different light.
- Radiate positive energy. Decide each morning that you will make it a great day. Choose to smile, laugh and help others. Doing so adds truth and beauty to our world.
- Be open to change. If you were brave what's one thing you would do differently? Learn to be flexible and open to the opinions of others. Notice any resistance in your life. When we can embrace change fears fade away.
- Learn to say "no." Often we say "yes" out of obligation or guilt. I have learned to say, "No, that's not going to work for me" when someone asks me to do something I don't want to do. I never offer an excuse. Usually after repeating the line twice the other person backs down.
- Read inspiring poetry and uplifting books. You always feel better when you do. This is why "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books are best sellers.
- Move your body. Being active gets endorphins going and creates feel good energy. Our bodies are built for exercising. I saw a 79 year old man finish the iron man in Hawaii for the eleventh time in a row. I'll never forget it.
- Express love. Do you share your love with those around you? Often we don't tell people how we feel about them. We think they "should know." Maybe it's uncomfortable for you to do so. Begin to practice telling others: I love you, I care about you, you are important to me. Hug and kiss when you greet the people who mean the most to you. Call somebody and tell them you are thinking of them. You have the power to uplift others. When you do so you are uplifted as well.We decide how much joy we experience every day. We decide weather we trudge or dance through life. Please share with us your thoughts below.
In what way do you give yourself away to "to too little joy?"
What would "understanding how to dance" look like in your life?"
What might you do to encourage others to "dance?"
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