“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” ~Henri J.M. Nouwen.
Some days I wake filled with joy. On other days though the moment I open my eyes I know it’s not so good. Today is one of those days. It’s the week before Christmas and, as often happens when it comes to loved ones at this time of year, expectations aren’t matching my reality. I’m sure you know what I mean. And even though it’s summer here in New Zealand the sky is grey and gloomy and feeling like it just might fall on me at any moment.
I’ve learnt that there are days when I need to do something to kick start the joy. As Henri J.M. Nouwen writes, “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” So true! More often than not joy has to be called up. It has to be summonsed. We need to work at it and be prepared to ease the gloom aside to make room for joy instead.
One of the things I like to do on days like today is to read one of my little JOY affirmations. They get me thinking about things I can do that will bring me back to my joy. If I’m really pressed for time SMILING is the one I usually default to. It’s easy to remember and quick to do and I’m always amazed at how much better it makes me feel ~ even if to begin with it has to be forced.
How to use these little affirmations:
Choose the one that most resonates with you, read it out loud, write it in a little journal you can easily carry with you, and tuck it inside your heart. Make it the theme for your day.
5 AFFIRMATIONS THAT WILL KICK START YOUR JOY
“You dance love, and you dance joy, and you dance dreams” ~Gene Kelly
AFFIRMATION: Today I will think of ways I can dance my JOY. I will search out a way that works for me. Maybe I’ll just cha-cha my way down the hallway, or dance naked in front of the mirror … or maybe I’ll just close my eyes and imagine myself dancing on the beach in the moonlight! Or twirling like a Dervish. Or maybe I’ll watch the movie Dirty Dancing for the umpteenth time.
Even if I don’t actually dance I’ll find a picture of a dancer and use it to make a page that dances in my art journal. Whatever happens I will open myself to the dance. I will find ways to let my inner JOY dance free.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
AFFIRMATION: Today, even if I don’t feel like it, I will smile first thing in the morning and last thing at night and as many times in between as I can manage. And as often as possible I will notice how it feels to smile – how I open like a flower every time. And how it dissolves the boundaries between the inner me and my outer world ~ and lets my inner JOY shine through.
“To play is to listen to the imperative inner force that wants to take form and be acted out without reason. It is the joyful, spontaneous expression of one’s self.” ~Spirituality & Practice website
AFFIRMATION: Today I will spend ten minutes remembering how it felt to play when I was a child. Maybe I’ll blow bubbles, or build card houses. Maybe I’ll write my name with big fat crayons or colour in with little crayons, or make daisy chains lying on my back on the lawn. However I choose to play today, I will do it as if for the very first time. If people ask me what’s going on I will tell them the force is with me.
4) BE KIND TO OTHERS
“Kindness is an inner desire that makes us want to do good things even if we do not get anything in return. It is the joy of our life to do them.” ~Emanuel Swedenborg
AFFIRMATION: Today I will scatter kindnesses like rose petals. I’ll stay alert to ways I can help others – loved ones and strangers alike – and I’ll do what I can to make life a little easier for them. Even though I won’t expect anything in return I know that at the end of the day the fragrance of rose petals will still cling to me.
5) BE PRESENT
“.. any of the various ways you can practice presence will make you a more contented, centered, and joyful person, even in the midst of your hectic daily life.” ~Barrie Davenport
AFFIRMATION: Today I’ll TRY to remember to be present to the moments life has gifted me. When I wash my dishes I wont rush by the bubbles and the warmth and the rainbow of colours and the chinking porcelain noises ~ as if they don’t matter. I will love them and in return I’ll let them love me, and bring me gently back to my JOY.