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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Deliberate Joyfulness in Times of Hardship

Many of us are going through hard times these days. The global economy is going through a period of balancing itself out which is difficult. We are experiencing this in common with our brothers and sisters around the world and it is a challenge to work together toward helping each other make it through.

I have been reflecting upon the virtues and qualities to bring into this new economic climate which could help sustain a positive outlook and an extension of good will towards my fellow man.

One thing i have found helpful is increasing the practice of joy in my life.

How does one deliberately increase the practice of joy in ones life. There are many ways. To count ones blessings or to meditate upon the abundance that we do have in our lives, many of which we take for granted every day. My family, my health, the warmth of the sun, the gift of the rain. A friend, someone to talk to and share these times with is a blessing indeed.

Often in trying times i have been caught in feelings of despair, feeling that life is just not worth the energy. Sometimes i find that i have fallen into bad habits of just moping and focusing on the down side of everything and spiraling into an unmotivated period of gloom. This has never been helpful to me, and has in fact been detrimental to me as well as negatively affecting those around me.

Making it an intention to set aside time each day to be deliberately joyful has been a help. To spend time with my children or even by myself doing things which are fun. Playing a game with the family always produces laughter and joy. Recalling good times or humorous situations and retelling the stories with friends or reminding them of the occasion can invite laughter and moments of joy.

Deciding to engage in an activity which is fun, taking a walk around the block or stopping by the park to walk for even five or ten minutes can add so much to ones day.

Deciding to do something is always better than deciding to not do anything. Call that friend, watch that old funny movie, play frisbee. What ever it is in your life that brings joy, the little things, the free things, these things will make the day seem so much brighter.

I have found that in trying to be more deliberately joyful, in taking time to appreciate all that i do have, makes the work i have to do more joyful.

I recently heard an interesting quote, "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste."

This may sound like a strange thing to say about difficult times, but there is a lot of truth in it. These things in our lives, these challenges, help us develop tools of wisdom to use in the future. The wisdom gained through challenges not only helps us, but also becomes a gift; they give us something to give back to the world.

It is good to be mindful that, as in all challenging times, we will come out on the other side with new perspective and a renewed sense of power and balance through the wisdom we gain. This can be a liberating understanding, for once we can see this and know this, then we can move on in our daily lives in a joyful manner.

Oh, and remember that sometimes smiling is a reaction we have to feeling good, and at other times, feeling good is a reaction we have to smiling.

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