December is a month that is synonymous with the holidays, gatherings, gifting, good cheer and wishing peace on earth. It can also be a time of frenzy as you attempt to not only lead your day-to-day life, but also include the additional events and preparations this time of the year brings. With all of the hustle and bustle found during this season, coupled with longer waits in lines and more traffic than usual (especially in the big cities!), it may be hard to experience, let alone spread, joy as you are trying to be the super human with super patience, handling all ends of the holiday spectrum.
Yet, it is possible to run around this month, while still enjoying the joyous spirit as you prepare for the holidays. It’s even possible to prolong the experiences of joy from this holiday-making time throughout the rest of the year. Feeling joy can be a common experience once you learn the basic blueprint for creating it, enhancing it and living it.
Finding joy is a compelling force. It drives people to find the “positive side” to life. If you think about it, people want to feel good on all levels. It is a typical desire to seek happiness and joy and move away from any pain, fear, frustration and hurt they may be experiencing physically, emotionally or spiritually. Lives are spent in a constant search for joy. So often, the end result is sought while the path to exist there is overlooked. So much is missed when the experience is overlooked as too many opportunities for joy are also missed!
How can you experience “every joy” along your daily path?
Perfect timing! This month is the ideal time to reflect upon experiencing joy in your world since this time of the year can bring great joy as you practice the art of giving, sharing and gathering. As the old English Proverb reminds you, “A joy that is shared is a joy made double.” As a matter of fact, this month asks you to shift your focus onto others as you share with them through the mere act of gifting in appreciation, not merely receiving. This is a thoughtful gesture that not only brings joyfulness to the recipient, but also to the giver.
Think along these lines of what you can “gift” yourself to spread more joy and express more joy along your daily path. Here are six simple experiences you can mentally choose amidst the hurry and scurry of this month that will contribute to the experience of joy now and year round for yourself and those who surround you.
1) Define your joy – know what excites you and brings you happiness. Understand its impetus. What brings you joy will be different from what brings joy to your best friend. By knowing your source of joy, you begin to establish an intimate and ongoing relationship with it. You can easily and readily pursue those sources when you know what they are. Take responsibility to experience this joy and look within first to then share it without.
2) Cherish the moment – finding joy in your world will always be discovered in the present, the gift of the current moment. Try to live in the “now” of your path instead of focusing on the end result. Too much is missed when you live for tomorrow, next month, next year, when the kids grow up, when you retire, etc. The moment is cherished once you are involved with your life right now and not waiting for that “perfect” time or moment. Know that there is never a perfect time other than now!
3) Focus on importance – make and take time for what you find important. Know that what you focus on and where you spend your time will be those things and experiences that will prosper and grow. Focus on what makes you and your loved ones happy and you will find more happiness within your life. Avoid focusing on those things that define you, such as labels or perceived limitations or you will find yourself limited and confined.
4) See small miracles – notice actions around you. The small and simple things in life, such as a smile or a helping hand from a stranger can be just what you needed when your spirits were down. Or the “chance” meeting of another at a holiday party or while standing in line at the post office could lead you to networking or friendship opportunities. Be open, receptive and look for the miracles, the synchronicities. Remember, what you notice and where you focus will cause more of the same to grow within your world. Joy begins as a simple, small seed.
5) Shift your thinking – change your mind to “give” joy rather than “seek” joy. When you can give joy to others, you become joy. Be what it is you seek. Joy is always found in the act of “happy” expression.
6) Appreciate with sincerity – express gratitude to others within your life. Sincerely let others know your appreciation for them. All people love to be appreciated. When you express your sincere appreciation to someone, you are accepting him or her in the moment for how he or she is. Appreciation means acceptance. Others will want to be around you when they know that you will accept them with sincerity.
As you experience this month of holiday-making and gifting, known for stirring joyfulness, try focusing on the path of being as opposed to the path of just doing. Consider experiencing joy as an outcome of being and giving as opposed to an income of obtaining and receiving. The lessons you practice today, while making these simple mental choices, can serve as your blueprint towards finding joy in your world during the remaining 364 days of the year.
Wishing you infinite joy…
Karen A. Dahlman ©