Hanging in my hallway, where I can read it often, is a sign that reads, What if the Hokey Pokey Really IS what It’s All About? I bought it a few years back thinking it would be a great reminder to lighten up. To not take myself or life too seriously. As a result, I realized that with life’s ups and downs and unpredictability, the ultimate goal has to be to live in joy.
I’ve found that joy is not dependent on what happens or doesn’t happen or on anything that lies outside of me. It is, however, 100% dependent on my perspectives and thoughts. We clearly have the choice to choose joy. Why would we choose not to have it?
For many people, being unhappy protects them from pain. Surprising, huh? Brene Brown, is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She states in her book, Daring Greatly, that after many years of studying what it means to be joyful, she’d argue that joy is probably the most difficult emotion to feel.
We Are Desperate for Joy
When she asked participants about the experiences that made them feel the most vulnerable, she did not expect the joyful moments. One lady reported to Brown, “It’s easier to live disappointed than it is to feel disappointed. It feels more vulnerable to dip in and out of disappointment than to just set up camp there. You sacrifice joy, but you suffer less pain.” Brown states that we are desperate for more joy, but at the same time we can’t tolerate the vulnerability.
The good news is gratitude, according to Brown, emerged from her data as the antidote to foreboding joy. “In fact, every participant who spoke about the ability to stay open to joy also talked about the importance of practicing gratitude. Her research participants consistently described both joyfulness and gratitude as spiritual practices. Bound to a belief in human connectedness and a power greater than us. 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.”
Our Birthright is Joy
I believe our divine birthright is a glorious adventure of joy. Unfortunately, at a very young age we are taught to believe quite differently. We are taught judgments and ideologies that are anything but joyful. Also, we are bombarded daily with news of gloom and doom portraying nothing remotely close to joy only scarcity and fear. And yes, it takes courage to be joyful!
We are Free to Choose
We have the choice to believe or not believe the negative perspectives and thoughts that rob us of our joy. We have the choice to limit how much negative input we allow in our lives. We have the choice to live life to its fullest which requires vulnerability and possibly being disappointed. We have the choice to focus on scarcity or to practice gratitude.
What if The Hokey Pokey Really IS What It’s All About? Can we experience life from a lighter perspective? Is joy the ultimate goal? Is it possible you are here for joy? I think so!
A joyful moment from my audio visual meditation, I AM Joy, available for immediate download.