Finding joy. Are you looking in the right place?

by Angela Swanson

Where to find joy.

Do you have a Joy Plan?

Joy Plan? 🤔 

You know… the list of things you’re waiting for, hoping for, and working for? The “I’ll be happy when…” list. When I get the job. Or the house. Or the money. Or the partner. Or the vacation. Or the weight loss. Or the…

The list goes on and on.

We can all too easily fall into the trap of believing that something out there in the future is what we need in order to finally experience the kind of peace, happiness, and joy we long for. The truth of the matter is much different. As so many wisdom traditions teach -- everything you're looking for is found in the present moment. As in this very moment right now. Including joy.

Joy isn’t found someday.

The rub is, sure, all those things you don’t have yet, but are highly anticipating, would be great! And yes, they can bring lots of goodness into our lives. But if we’ve trained ourselves to constantly be waiting for “someday,” then when “someday” comes we’ll completely miss it because we’re not present for it. (Hence the old adage, and Creedence Clearwater Revival song lyric from 1972, “Someday never comes.”)

That’s why presence is key. Being present is a skill most of us have to practice.

But let’s be real. Sometimes what’s happening in the moment kind of sucks. We may be dealing with stuff that doesn’t feel good. That’s life. But we don't have to set up camp in suffering or distract ourselves with all the things that don't help and actually perpetuate the problem, making things worse.

We have the power to shift our awareness to something better… something that feels more like joy.

Finding joy can be very simple. As simple as pausing to notice and appreciate the blue sky and big billowy clouds. Or the warmth of hot coffee in your favorite mug. Or the beautiful bird songs right outside your window. Or the refreshing sip of fresh, clean water. 

Yes, sometimes it's complicated.

Indeed, there are those more challenging days when you need to physically put yourself in a different situation to kick-start your joy muscle. For me it’s taking a walk outside, putting on my favorite tunes, or settling into my favorite chair with my latest knitting project.

It’s helpful to have a Joy List.

And when things are extra hard and I can't even think of one single thing I can do to shift into Joy, I use a Joy List so I can be quickly reminded of what works for me. Yes… a Joy List. Not a Joy Plan, which are the things I hope will come someday, but a List of Joy I can access right now.

What are those things for you? What’s on your Joy List? 

Reflect, practice, and write them down. Keep your Joy List handy and if you catch yourself waiting for someday to feel joy, pull it out and remember the Way to Joy is right here, right now, in the present moment.

Till next time,

Chief Energy Fairy