Live Courageously, Practice JOY, Accept Responsibility
Use it or lose it. Use your mind, or lose your mind. Use your muscles, or lose your muscles. Use your JOY, or lose your JOY. You have to practice joy. Just like you would practice the piano, you must practice your joy.
Buddy the WonderDog knows joy. Joy comes easily to him. He finds joy in a walk, a bone, a smile and a pat. He will run and leap for the pure joy of new day, a new squeaky toy, an old squeaky toy, or a squeaking Wascally Wabbit. Joy, joy joy!
Joy unbound. Joy unfurled. Joy without worry or rancor. Buddy’s joy doesn’t have to be practiced, he’s a natural, it’s just who he is.
No, Buddy doesn’t have to worry about paying the electric bill. And Buddy’s capacity for anticipating any number of possible catastrophic events is very limited. And his mind isn’t constantly replaying all the times he has disappointed me and he isn’t wondering if the mailman thinks he’s a bad guard dog. So it’s easier for him than it is for us. Right?
“Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different.” –Katherine Mansfield
Since when has worry and regret ever made you safer or your day happier? Consider the lilies, I say (Jesus agrees with me), and look at those birds in the sky (and at my bird feeder).
Joy must become a practice. You must practice your joy so that you can spread your joy. Discard worry and regret, carry joy with you wherever you go and you will find that the burden of joy is bright and beautiful and contagious.
“A smile is a curve that can set a lot of things straight.” -Victor Borge
I have a task for you. The next time you are driving in town, put a smile on your face and keep it there. Nod at other drivers every once in a while with that happy, contented grin on your face. Direct that smile right at ’em. And make sure you get your whole face involved in this exercise – make your eyes sparkle with joy too (it’s easier than it sounds!).
Now this is the fun part, notice how so many people have a surprised or confused look cross their face for a moment before they break out into a mirroring smile. When you see that look, you know you’ve accomplished your task, you’ve sent them a little Jolt of Joy. Hallelujah!
There is another exciting outcome to this experiment, it’s the Aftermath of Joy-Share. You will find yourself glowing a bit brighter and stepping a bit lighter. You may even find that the practice of joy becomes a habit.
“A good cook is a sorceress who dispenses happiness.” -Elsa Schiapirelli
Happiness is a plate of whole-grain blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup and a side of bacon. Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, a wonderful day to begin your new Practice of Joy!