Archive | January 2013

Chasing Joy

Do you have a vision, an image of your perfect life?  My vision has always revolved around a house at the ocean.  I can see it, feel it and even see the animals I have with me.  It brings a smile to my face when I picture it.  A large part of my life I really had no big dreams other than to survive or what I considered romantic notions that I put aside.  Then I began to move beyond my need to just survive and began to study what this life is all about, why I am here, what rings true for me.  And in that study I began chasing joy.

Oh, I read so many wonderful books, listened to informative and challenging cd’s, took classes to expand my spirituality, attended retreats and so on and so on.  After each book, each class I expressed my appreciation for what I learned about myself-my humanity and spirituality-and then moved on to the next.  I was sure I did not quite get it but if I took one more class then everything would come together and I would have that house at the beach and a peaceful, joy filled life.  I am not saying all of the study and exploration did not help.  My goodness it pushed me forward to recognizing the truth at my core.  Each time I learned more and opened more.  However, it was never enough.  Surely there was a piece I was not getting as I was still in a job I did not particularly like or want and still not living at the ocean.

My visions of what I was to do with my life expanded and I just added that to the “what am I doing wrong” mantra.  There has to be the perfect, right solution that will catapult me where I want to go.  And running through it all was a belief that I had to find a way to make more money as maybe that would be the solution.

And then one day the chase stopped.  I allowed the joy at my core to break through and all of a sudden it felt as if my heart would burst over looking at a beautiful cloud formation or just walking through my house.  I found myself dancing and singing through the rooms for no particular reason except for the JOY of it.  What happened?  There came a point when in my morning quiet time I set an intention to focus on the peace and joy at my core that day.  I knew it was there and it was time to remember.  Some days the focus lasted all day and other days for five minutes.  And that continues today.  However, my chasing after joy for the most part stopped as I realized I am that. It is always with me.

No, I have not given up my dreams and visions but I do not yearn for them or feel they must be chased.  There is such freedom when the chase stops.  I open my heart to learning now and I know that my light shining every day is my joy.  Most of the time there is no wild, exuberant dancing as I learn to recognize the quietness of joy so different from “being happy all the time.”  For me it is accepting and embracing how loved I am by the Creator no matter what is going on in my life or the world.

Recently I experienced the truth beyond my dreams and visions.  In the quiet one morning I asked how was I to serve that day.  The answer came: “Welcome All.”  To me that meant all people, all experiences that came my way that day and from that time forward.  I am now welcoming joy rather than chasing it.  I was given a lovely book for Christmas titled Joy (remember there are no coincidences).  I end this post with a quote from Marcus Valerius Martialis along with the author’s (M.H. Clark) two word summary of it. “‘Tomorrow’s life is too late. Live today.’  Inhabit Joy.”

Are you chasing anything in your life?  Is so, what?  Where is your joy?



Choice From Feeling

In this time of the beginning new year I have mulled over what to blog about next.  For a month or more the word “choice” keeps popping up and I keep ignoring it.  One excuse has been that so many folks are writing and speaking about choice what additionally can I have to say.  But the word will not go away so here is the beginning of my exploring “Choice”.

Our days are filled with choices and decisions that are small, medium and large as well as easy and hard.  We make a choice to get out of bed in the morning; we choose what we will eat, what we will wear and on and on throughout the day.  Some are easy and we do not even think about them as choices.  Others take time, consideration and sometimes pain and/or joy are involved.   Some of us make decisions quickly without hesitation even when there is a difficult choice involved.  Others take time considering all sides trying to ensure the “right” choice is made.

Those of you who have been following this blog from the beginning know that I made several significant decisions out of anger and fear.  These were choices made from my emotions that took over my thinking.  Of course we use our minds to evaluate information collected to make decisions including the direction we will take on our path in life.  Some of us choose to stay moving in the same direction and others explore north ,east, south and west as they move through life here on earth.  But regardless I am coming to understand that on its own the mind can get confused as my ego (often led by survival fears) becomes involved.  It is when I go first to my heart, the core of me, asking questions and listening that my mind then freely receives critical information from Spirit. It is through feeling (not emotions) informing thinking that choices filled with joy are made.

The difference between emotion and feeling is not something that was easy for me to learn.  And it is not easy for me to put into words.  For me feeling is a knowing, a peace that washes over me when something is right.  When it is not right at a particular time the feeling of peace and joy is absent and I am often agitated.  This has taken practice, practice, practice and a willingness to accept all choices and decisions made as part of my learning.  If something does not turn out as I expect or is not the “right” choice, I consider what I learned, let it go and move on.  As I said earlier this takes practice, practice, practice for most of us.  It takes making the time to sit in relaxed silence and listen.

Our busy lives so often get in the way of our plans to set aside daily time to sit in quiet or silence.  It means developing a discipline.  I find now when I get out of sync with this my day is frequently out of sync.  The amazing part is that the  heart becomes so attached to this practice that it lets you know and often draws you into silence even if only for one or two minutes.  You begin to see that even one or two minutes can turn your around.  Without the help of mentors and friends I am not sure I would be where I am in my understanding now.  And there is so much more growing, learning and giving ahead that it is with joyous trusting that I continue on the journey.

One practice may be to try this with small choices or decisions to begin to notice the difference in a heart choice and a strictly mind choice.  I strongly recommend that you find someone who is a coach, a mentor, friend or all three who can assist you in focusing on discerning the language of your heart.  So much joy awaits you.

What choices or decisions have you made recently?  Have they been based on feeling or thinking?  Are you satisfied with your choice making process at this stage in your life?  Share where you are in this process.