Gem of the Week: Be Grateful...BE Joy!
Be Grateful…BE Joy
The special day for gratitude and gathering of friends and family is just a few days away … Thanksgiving! Already? Honestly, how can that be possible? Didn’t I just bake the turkey with all its trimmings and pumpkin pies a few weeks ago? My head is spinning just thinking about how fast this year has gone by. One thing I know for certain (and it’s been said by many) is thanks – giving or gratitude is indeed a practice to implement daily to experience more joy in our lives.
Dr. Brene Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, writes in her book, Daring Greatly, on vulnerability and “foreboding joy.” Her data shows that joy is probably the most difficult emotion to really feel. She says for many people joy can feel like a setup.
“We wake up in the morning and think, Work is going well. Everyone in the family is healthy. No major crises are happening. The house is still standing. I’m working out and feeling good. Oh sh**! This is bad. This is really bad. Disaster must be lurking right around the corner!”
Sound familiar? How vulnerable do you allow yourself to be in joy? Are you waiting for the other shoe to drop? I’m certainly guilty of this!
The good news is her data also shows that gratitude is the antidote to foreboding joy. Brown states, “In fact, every research participant who spoke about the ability to stay open to joy also talked about the importance of practicing gratitude.”
What startled her was the fact that participants consistently described both joyfulness and gratitude as spiritual practices that were bound to a belief in human connectedness and a power greater than us. Brown states, “Participants described happiness as an emotion that’s connected to circumstances, and they described joy as a spiritual way of engaging with the world that’s connected to practicing gratitude.”
Often while attending to everyday tasks, I feel gratitude for the things so easily taken for granted, e.g., the ability to plant my feet on the floor first thing in the morning, my first cup of coffee, the agility of my fingers as they float across the keyboard, my family, my dog, etc., - it’s endless. The moment you begin to take notice of all the things going right, heartfelt gratitude engulfs you and a state of joy is not far behind. Perhaps not in a “jumping for joy” kind of way, but in a sense of contentment, peaceful mind, and being fully present in the moment experiencing the wonder of life kind of ways.
In practicing gratitude, joy becomes a part of who you are. Ultimately, I believe joy IS our very essence. Bad things happen, but I’m betting in our ability to BE joy — we’ll be stronger.
My wish for you, this Thanksgiving holiday and throughout your life, is your heart will overflow with gratitude, grace and joy!
Copyright, Denna J. Shelton, 2018
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Enjoy "I AM Joy" video sample from my "TwentyGems, Journey to the Self" meditation series. The beautiful hues of red, yellow and orange in nature accompanied by joyful music will put a smile upon your face.
Currently eight different videos available for purchase in DVD or digital downloads. Take a journey break during your day to restore and rejuvenate or view prior to going to sleep to drift into good night's rest. Also provides a perfect backdrop to any room where you'd like to promote a relaxing, peaceful atmosphere.