I talk a lot about the times we are in and the changes we are going through because perspective is so important to be able to roll with it all. Today, though, I want to discuss what joy as a practice does for you, what the experience is like, and how it changes your experience in life.
As we like to say at the Magic Of Joy:
Joy is not just a feeling. Joy is an intelligence, an anchor, a practice, a skill, and a compass. Joy is a way to make friends with ourselves, each other, and nature. It is time to make the spirit of friendship that joy creates a living reality in our lives.
It is important to understand the deep and profound way in which joy can improve our lives so that we can release ourselves from the fear-based ways of the past into a richer and more naturally thriving way of living that is good for us, each other and the planet. But what is that like on a day-to-day basis. What is actually different?
12 Changes From A Joy Practice
So when you move into a joy practice, certain changes occur:
- It opens up your space so there is a space for you, others, and a changing reality. This space is flexible and open but also grounded. You show up in the present to make the best of things which is what an intention of creating joy helps you do, and in the process, you naturally eliminate self-defeating extremes and look for ways to create actions that contribute to well-being.
- You have space for lost aspects of self which start to speak and feel welcome. You feel more supported as a result because more of you is present, and so you feel stronger automatically. This has been interesting to me because there are important parts of ourselves that have been rejected, including wonder, curiosity, and creativity. They show up to do their part in a joy practice. In doing so, you have a stronger inner balance that protects and helps you notice and sidestep misguided drama and contemptuous energies.
- Because you are not overbalanced in the direction of the energy of “bad”, the demonizing energy, and negativity that goes with it, so you can invite the unknown, new possibilities, and flexibility in working with life rather than fighting it. That helps you to relax also. One wonderful thing about a joy practice, and it takes getting used to, is that there is no war. There is nothing to fight against and a lot more to work with.
- You will discover that the self and community do not have to be enemies or antagonistic to each other. They should be mutually reinforcing and supporting and can be when they are open to adapting to change. Right now, our societies are so anti-change that there is an antagonism between the individual and community. I don’t think that is sustainable.
- You will learn that joy because it is wise and has few side effects. I love this. I like the idea of making choices that leave as little mess to clean up as possible. This is not perfectionism. It is simply a natural outcome of a joy practice that creates fewer dramas and defenses. We need fewer messes.
- A joy practice invites and has space for possibilities which actually creates more security than the demand for security, which shuts down new ideas and change. There is a saying I heard some time ago that you can do whatever you want as long as you do not change anything, meaning the power structure. That is what has become sacred in the world. When we talk about possibilities, we invite those that arise from the situations and challenges in the present. So they are directed, which turns the unknown into a resource and assistant rather than something to fear. Too often, uncertainty is framed as a threat. It does not have to be this way.
- The more you move into a joy practice and the actual experience of joy on an ongoing basis, the easier it will be to forgive the mislabeling of that which is good in you and any knee-jerk negativity which has caused you pain. You can release people who used the tactic of making you feel bad to dominate you. Understanding the cultural underpinnings of these attitudes will make that easier.
- You will find that a joy practice helps you relate to the present, past, and future in a naturally healthy way so you support the ongoing thriving of the world without denying the contributions of the past or the needs of the future. There is no robbing Peter to pay Paul.
- You will not need extreme willpower in an overstimulated world to survive. Self-care means you can be your best and just do your part in creating joy in the world with others.
- You will find that you can take your life back from all of the mistaken ideas about good and bad, so whatever you do to avoid those labels can be things you let go of. The simplification helps to restore ownership of your life to you.
- You own your life. There is no ladder to climb, no one to beat, and so you are free to live in conversation with others. You are learning to live in an ecological way instead of a competitive way.
- Most importantly, you can appreciate yourself, automatically creating self-respect and self-love. Because you are so connected in a good way to your own actions, it is also much easier to believe in yourself and have a healthy ego.
I hope you can see how a shift to a joy-based way of living can be very beneficial in lots of ways for you and others.