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Mastering the Art of Joy

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day” – Henri Nouwen

Are you moving too fast to enjoy life? Are you caught up in problems and struggles? Are you pressing forward on automatic, burning the candle at both ends.

Joyful living takes commitment. It asks us to be awake and aware in the moments of our lives. It invites us to stem the momentum of our habits so we can reclaim peace, appreciation, wonder, awe, presence.

Do you want to master the art of joyful living? Integrate these 10 steps in your life, and the seeds of joy will flourish endlessly.

  1. Bring silence and stillness into your life If we turn down the volume on all the noise in our lives, we discover the amazing fact that silence and stillness are already here. We become relaxed, grounded and clear, and stress begins to melt away. How can you bring silence into your life? When can you stop and be still?

  2. Clean up Clean up your clutter, it is a joy zapper. If there is anything you are procrastinating about, anything you can easily fix, anyone who drags you down, pay attention. Don’t wait or settle for good enough. Carve out the time, figure out a solution, and clean it up. You are making the space for joy, peace, and happiness to illuminate your life.

  3. Mind your own business Do you want to be unhappy and frustrated? Then try to not control things you can’t actually do anything about. Like other people or most situations or the past or future. Let the story go, and see what is actually true in your direct experience. Bring compassion right into the places where it is needed most. Diligently work on the areas where you get stuck, and joy will naturally shine through you.

  4. Live in Generosity, not in lack. So many of us want attention, love, and understanding. We live in a state of lack, thinking that life can begin if only we get what we think we need. Consider that you may not actually need what you think you need. It might just be an old story that has outworn its welcome. Instead of living in lack, contemplate generosity. Give out to others what you want or need. Pull out the stops in offering attention, interest, and caring. Your sense of lack will be transformed into fullness. Believing you have enough becomes love overflowing.

  5. Use your senses Life is so abundant right before our very eyes. Slow down and take the time to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Eating an apple becomes a sensual delight, doing the dishes a symphony.

  6. Recognize what is working It is so easy to focus on problems and unhappy feelings. They grab our attention and won’t let go like a dog feasting on a juicy bone. Take stock of what is working in your life. Is your living situation a good one? Do you know people who you love and appreciate? Do you enjoy your daily runs or a good home-cooked meal? Simply look around you, and you may be surprised by the bounty that is already present.

  7. Live in forgiveness If a grudge is interfering with your joy of life, then it requires your loving attention. Don’t let the minutes tick by while you live in self-righteousness or regret. Neutralise the stories from the past, and make the choice to live joyfully now.Then live in amends. If you feel wronged by someone or you hurt another, deal with it. Don’t let it fester. Make a lifestyle of living free from hurts and grudges. You will feel strong, clear, and empowered.

  8. Learn from life experiences Sometimes the road of life is a bumpy one. If you want to master joyful living, be open to learning from the challenges that life brings you. Be honest about what buttons get pushed and recognize when you have dropped into a hole that you can’t seem to find your way out of. Difficult life experiences are designed to show us the areas in our lives where we are not yet free. Use these situations well for your own liberation. You might have noticed that the teachings come until we understand the lesson. If there is a self-defeating pattern playing out in your life, slow it down so you can become conscious of what you are doing. Then make different, better choices with your eyes wide open.

  9. Be pleasant No matter what is going on in your life, show up in an open, good-natured way. No one likes a Negative Nancy. Stop complaining, and instead be patient, open, kind, and agreeable in your day-to-day life.

  10. Move in the direction of joy Every moment offers a choice. Take a look at your life, and it will show you what you value. Are you choosing stress, conflict, and unhappiness? Joy provides the perfect barometer for navigating through life. All you need to do is recognize what brings you joy, then follow it. Simple, right? Make room in your life for what is positive, light, and life-affirming. You will have mastered the art of joyful living.

Do you live joyfully? Where do you get stuck? What other suggestions do you have? I’d love to hear…

“We can choose to live in Joy. It is not Joy that makes us grateful.

It is gratitude that makes us joyful”

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