What do you think is the most popular category for re-pins on Pinterest and for responses and shares on Facebook? Inspirational sayings, right? As a culture, we are starving for uplift. How did we end up in this place?
Part of it is a reflection of economic realities. Prior to the Reagan years, labor and management had a more equal balance of power. With the near-demise of labor unions, the real wages of most Americans have dropped sharply, more and more of us have only part-time or contingent work with no benefits, we are working longer and have very little realistic hope of a dignified and comfortable retirement. Having economic fears and anxieties simply means that you’re aware and paying attention.
Our health is a legitimate concern as well. For the first time in history, life expectancy and overall health measures of adult Americans are declining. Our young adult offspring have less hope and opportunities. [If none of these categories apply to you, have compassion and generosity for the rest of us.]
In a reality where glib “don’t worry; be happy” platitudes are lacking in wisdom as well as empathy, how can someone like me insist that Happiness is the goal of ALL of my programs? My answer to you: Blast away all the external Barriers to joy that you possibly can and then learn the Secret Sauce that allows you generate joy internally.
So why am I such a joy advocate?
The first reason is physical health. Anxiety and worry depresses your immune system, raises your blood pressure (which damages kidneys and arteries and leads to premature death and an end to sexual function), and wrecks your skin. If you want to live longer, stop wasting money on supplements and potions and practice Reiki, EFT (tapping), meditation and daily movement.
The second is that joy is infectious. All your other problems start easing, when you approach other people with a glow. You can talk your bankers into outrageous rule-changes, you can encourage discounts and more-time-to-pay from nearly everyone, you can blind hiring managers to your flaws and weaknesses, and you can convince everyone else to have hope for their future as well. You can even have the faith to commit to healing of long-festering problems (with me) if your expectation for your future changes.
How do you shift yourself away from dwelling on all your legitimate sources of dismay?
Well, you don’t want to ignore reality. That is one beef I have with some less-than-wise proponents of Positive Thinking. Did you know that in the 1950’s, the early advocates of civil rights for women and minorities were accused of fostering disloyalty and even treason because they were bringing up “negative” views of American society? Don’t ever, ever allow a preference for a positive twist on your situation to morph into suppressing your first duty to tell yourself and others the truth about your life. Black Lives Matter. Women’s lives matter. If this is “negativity,” then thank god for it. Walk away from anyone who tries to suppress or muzzle your grasp on Truth.
But joy can be part of Truth, too.
Carve out time in your day, every day, for joy. Joy is your natural state when you are fully present in your body, in your reality. Stress comes from moment-by-moment time travel to the past and the future. So -
Ø Stop rushing from place to place, so you have time to breathe deeply and look up at the clear blue sky or the new daffodils or the cute dog walking your neighbor.
Ø Have less things on your to-do list, if you have to, but make time for Reiki, tapping (EFT), yoga and meditation.
Ø Give yourself time to breathe and be still, accomplishing nothing tangible, unless you count better physical health, sharper thinking and – joy.
As one of my inspirational pins reminds me, “It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.” [On Pinterest – SoaringDragon]
And make time, at least once a week, to be creative.
Ø Get some inexpensive ($5) watercolors or acrylic craft paints from the craft store, some painting paper or cheap canvases and swirl some colors around. It’s called abstract art. Don’t show it to anyone or ask anyone for an opinion. If you get a negative remark, tell the person to shut up. When you let go of the desire to “do a good job,” and get others’ approval, not only do you create great art – because “great art” is anything that is an authentic reflection of your feelings and your vision - but you will feel such an intense upwelling of pure joy, it will take your breath away.
Ø Build something. Get craft supplies or a kit and make something. It doesn’t even matter what. It is the PROCESS of the creation that reduces stress, gives you new insights into your life and makes you bubble with joy. I used to build furniture. I still build and create useful objects every week. You can get addicted to stained glass and mosaic kits. That is my fun time, and if you try it, you, too, can contemplate giving up your TV. Go to Michael’s or Joann [never Hobby Lobby], just walk around and when something catches your heart, don’t talk yourself out of it, second-guess or shame yourself. Buy it. Take it home. Try it out. Keep going into mindfulness, to keep the critical voices at bay.
Ø Embrace colors. Color has amazing impacts on your brain. Painting the prison walls calming colors really does reduce conflict.
Ø Learn a new skill. I keep telling people that crochet is so simple, children learn it easily. I can crochet in the dark, with my eyes closed, while watching scenery go by on a tour bus, because it’s a simple tactile task. With crochet, you can create stuffed animals, a nifty protector/carrier for your smart phone, purses, clothing, housewares galore. My smart phone carrier has compartments for phone, charger, USB, earbuds, a credit card and ID. I can use it as a purse for short trips where I don’t need a gazillion ID cards. Knitting is fun and leads to the same bumper crop of clothing, gifts and beauty.
There are literally thousands of cool things to learn – and learning something new brings joy. Sign up for something on Coursera, The Great Courses, Udemy or another learning site. When you are learning, your pre-frontal cortex lights up, and when it lights up, so do your joy circuits. And your Pride in Yourself circuits. You deserve to feel that good. Learn something. Konnichi-wa!
People like the Dalai Lama, who encourage you to seek joy in the midst of your troubles (while also having compassion for your legitimate pain and difficulty), are your true North Star if you want a life that soars. You deserve to soar with dragons. Take action today!
Who Am I?
I’ve been where you are, thinking that I could only truly harbor joy in my heart when every desire of my life was being fulfilled. I learned better, and so can you. We’ll start by clearing away the fixable external problems. Victoria Leo offers programs guaranteed to blast through your barriers to bring you physical health, peace of mind and soaring goddess energy! Is your career or dreams of entrepreneurship keeping you up at night? Do you need freedom from worry and lack of faith in yourself? Do you need physical health? Every program also teaches you how to generate joy from within. There IS a secret, magic formula and I will teach it to you!
Victoria offers both science-based and spiritual solutions that really work! Visit www.soaringdragon.biz and choose the program that will transform your life. You deserve to soar with dragons! Victoria’s Facebook group Healing Minds, Healing Bodies welcomes you, as does her blog SoaringDragoninJapan. You can find her books on Amazon, Nook, Kobo or at your local bookseller.