The Daily Joy Arsenal: Equip Yourself For the World
I can’t even watch the news anymore. I am one of those HSP’s (Highly Sensitive People). It is hard for me, with the tragedy I have faced in my early years of life, to stay calm and relaxed as life happens in an overwhelming whirlwind at times. So, the T.V. usually stays off. I am prone to falling into fits of depression, anxiety and self-doubt that can leave me clutching my chest. I have learned to surround myself with objects of refuge. Deities are perched on my altar, quotes on the refrigerator, good music, and of course, my precious family are all I need sometimes. Before I came to the realization I am about to share, I was in no control of my emotions or spiritual life because I did not have an anchor to keep me focused in my life. One day after disintegrating into another sad spiral, I came up with an idea. There have got to be virtues that are not based on punishment and reward that I can apply to my life in order to maintain a perpetual state of happiness. So, I returned to the mat, did some yoga and tried to search for the answers inside. I applied to seminary and started my quest.
My findings are in a constant beginning phase, I never want to learn all there is about being joyful. I want to discover it. That way I always stay grateful to my experience while in each and every one of them. I want to be aware while my awareness is fresh.
The Daily Joy Arsenal
When you fight against the onslaught of “The world,” you must be equipped with tools that will help you to stay protected, empowered, and free. With these virtues you will be able to have sense of clarity that will serve as your spiritual point of reference.
Kindness: Kindness is the lifeblood of joy. It allows you to step outside of yourself and share your best aspects even if it is a simple word of encouragement. We never fully realize the impact that our kindness can have on others, but it does come back to us when practiced regularly. Simple Practice: Smile as an offering of kindness to all that you see. This is especially difficult for people that are shy, I understand. Start small, see how reciprocation feels. Thich Nhat Hanh has a meditation practice in which one meditates on being a flower that is fresh. The smile is like a fresh flower, the hands and eyes can be flowers. Kindness is a flower.
Gratitude: A natural progression from kindness, gratitude is the navigator AND fuel of your future. When you say thanks, it is like leaving a breadcrumb trail of blessings on the path. When you are grateful during the difficulties of life, you are able to appreciate the depth of better times. Simple Practice: Say thank you to all that serve you in the day. Make eye contact and express the appreciation from your heart. Your grocery bag person, gasoline attendant, and your credit card company gives you a service that makes your life easier. Make sure you know that their efforts are not thankless. Putting love on your bills also is fun! See below:
A sample of gratitude: my car payment
Integrity: When you are in active practice of integrity, you do what you say you are going to do. You are honest in your actions, words and your core self even when no one is around. The best form of Integrity is of your thoughts. Say what you mean. Giving yourself permission to express your true thoughts and feelings openly is fantastic bolster of self-esteem. Emotional integrity goes hand in hand: Don’t complement your friend’s accomplishments unless you are truly sharing in their joy. Integrity in concert with kindness and gratitude make it a little easier to express your truth. Simple Practice: Trust yourself. Build relationships with as you truly are. If you say you are going to jump out an airplane you better make it happen!
Motivation: This is subtext to integrity. If you have the wherewithal to get something done, it would deepen your integrity factor to do it in an appropriate amount of time. Laziness and procrastination show that one does not have the integrity capable to create a disciplined life and spiritual practice. Simple Practice: Get excited about everything in your life (even the bad stuff). Let the Universe and all the wonder of creation motivate you to finish tasks, and spur others on with your excitement to accomplish personal responsibility.
Compassion: Right now, we are all together. We are on this planet replicated in trillions of ways. We all represent the grandeur of what Abraham-Hicks refers to as “The Manager.” We are one and never will be separated. Sharing in another’s experience is one aspect of many as to why we are here. If you miss out on compassion, you are missing out on the jewel of living. Compassion goes beyond sharing and understanding in a person’s sorrow and suffering, it also applies to celebrating the triumph in the heart of the struggle. Simple Practice: Visualize yourself in various situations around the world. Put yourself there as vividly as you can. Send love.
Empathy: Feel it. Connect to it. It is your ace in the hole. It is a little tricky sometimes to manage being energetically close to someone yet maintaining healthy boundaries, so go slowly. What empathy is NOT is taking on a person’s problems and making them your own. Being able to tap into another person’s experience and becoming infused with the magic of new found intuition should be practiced with strong well practiced qualities of the aforementioned virtues. Empathy is our spiritual connection to one another that allows us to have an intuitive understanding of a person in our life. Deeper bonds create happiness. Simple Practice: Spiritual Active Listening: practice hearing what is not being said.
Create Joy one moment at a time.