I am resolving from this day forward to choose joy over happiness. Perhaps you want to give it a try too? The word happiness resonates throughout our modern culture. Happiness is revered, longed for, worked on as a project. I was swept up in the endless pursuit of happiness for a while myself.
Until the day I went out for my usual walk through green fields and to the woods. It was the first time I had felt healthy enough to go after struggling with pneumonia. It was glorious to be healthy again after weeks of weakness and illness. Walking through the frozen landscape, my breath misting in the morning air, I soaked in the quiet. My soul expanded, tethered upward by wings expanding in my gratitude for the beautiful landscape and my returning strength. A serenity flowed over and through me. By the time I returned home I was glowing.
Happiness bubbles up in reaction to interactions with others, the enjoyment of pleasure or as a result of pride of one’s accomplishments or possessions. Joy, in contrast, embraces us when we are in state of wonder, out in nature, deeply loving, or in the flow of an activity out of space and time. Whereas I see happiness as a result of emotion, joy is an experience of process. It pitches you up and deeper into the present moment. Joy doesn’t rely on the past or the future to exist. All that you were, are and could be in the future is gathered up and swept aside. No wonder joy feels so liberating and serene.
So how do you change focus from happiness to joy?
- Go out and experience the wonder and beauty of nature. Feel the sun warm on your skin, enjoy the rush of the wind on your face, listen to the leaves rustling in the wind or the waves crashing on the shore…
- Connect with someone you adore by offering up a warm embrace, a cuddle, an expression of what you admire or appreciate about them.
- Immerse yourself in a passion. When I write, swim, hike or do yoga time and space fall away and joy takes its place. Maybe not before I drag myself to the lap top or the yoga mat, but once I’m there… What is your passion? Cooking? Singing? Playing an instrument? Preparing a party? If you don’t know, start exploring different activities to find one that brings you the bliss of flow.
- Meditate or pray.
Wishing you a life filled with joy! Heather