Joy can seem unreachable in the midst of pain and suffering. Our hearts may choose to close off to joy but it isn't lost. Joy is part of our human existence and it lives deep within our spirits and our souls. The lightness of joy is always available for us- we simply have to go through the pain to feel it.
I had a heartfelt conversation with a friend who had recently taken a trip to Africa. She arrived back with a profound sense of gratitude and joy in her heart. She shared about the trip and we both cried feeling the connection of life and the beauty of joy. Joy overcomes the darkness. On her trip she noticed the abundant joy radiating from the children she worked with. These are human beings who are living in extreme poverty; yet, will give you anything they have to make you feel invited and welcomed. Their joy did not hinge on external material items and it did not rejoice in consumption. Their joy radiated from their SOULS and it took the 'have not' to the 'have'. It replaced victim mentality and celebrated the life they are blessed to have, coming down and centering into this precious moment. They laughed, danced, sang and were vibrant with their stories- soul connection was at their core. You could feel LIFE moving from their spirits. I remember this feeling after living in Mexico. I FELT the core of life move through the people of the village I was living in and I knew to my core JOY was fundamentally built upon mindfulness, gratitude and connection to self, others and spirit. Even in the darkness, it was present.
In today's society in the USA, we are in constant search of joy and happiness. And we "have it all!" We have food in the fridge, water running in our homes and cars driving us to workshops like these. There was a lot of tough love in this week's JOY Workshop. We came down into gratitude and fully embraced the privilege we have being born into this country. Freedom. Opportunities. Resources. Love.
This weekend's JOY Workshop touched on the ways in which we can cultivate joy in our lives and how JOY can feel different for every person.
We began the workshop with an introduction of our personal relationship with JOY. For many women, this was their first workshop and the energy was eager and open.
We then continued with a 5 minute breathing exercise to ground into mother earth, clear space and set intentions for the new moon cycle ahead.
Following this, all women were asked what joy felt like to them. Some examples were:
The lesson of the workshop had a mix of tough love, self love, mindfulness, and personal stories.
The big question: HOW DO I CULTIVATE JOY? See the ideas below and give one a try this month:
- FEEL your emotions. This one is SOOOO important and it will ALWAYS be important.
- Release emotions. This could be in the form of talking, crying, laughing, dancing, chanting, singing, screaming or writing.
- Get down with the present moment and immerse yourself into it. To create a mindful moment, check in with your senses: what do you see? What do you feel? What do you taste? What do you hear? Pause long enough to experience each sensation.
- Focus with clarity how you will fill your cup and add more of the joy feeling into your life. ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS: am I spending my time doing what fuels me? Do I have purpose? Do I find meaning in my relationships? Be real with yourself.
- Get grateful. Always, always, always realize you are priviledged in this society. Look around the world *or even out into your neighborhood* and realize the privledge you have to have food in your fridge and running water.
- Join a group of women to SUPPORT you on your journey. The Heart and Soul fall workshop lineup is a great place to connect with inspiring and authentic women.
What will you commit to doing in order to add more joy into your life this month?