Allow Joy

Allow joy

We’re two weeks into the year, and to be honest, I’ve been really out of sorts lately.  It’s not a matter of post-holiday letdown – I think it’s new year overwhelm.

I don’t tend to make new year’s resolutions, but I do like to look ahead at things I want to change or incorporate into my life.  Since my schedule felt pretty tight last year, I’ve been trying to prioritize the things I want to do this year so that I feel more balanced and stay healthy.  But somehow I seem to keep coming short of time.

So I went out and bought one of those 3-month dry-erase calendars and started mapping things out and seeing where everything could fit.  And then I realized: it doesn’t all fit.

And then I wanted to just curl up into a ball.  There’s so much I want to do, so much that’s important to me, but how do I do it all?  When? 

Since I have two young boys that need and deserve my attention, curling up into a ball wasn’t really an option.  So instead I became unintentionally short-tempered, frustrated and emotional.  (Sorry, boys)!

Then this morning I saw a Facebook post with a picture of a man smiling and being silly.  His expression looked familiar yet almost foreign.  And I realized: that used to be me.  (Not the man part, but the silly, smiling part).

And then it hit me: I had stopped allowing joy.  Me, the person who passionately wrote a free guide called 5 Keys to a Joy-filled Life, had lost sight of joy.

This stopped me in my tracks.

So here I am, ready – so ready – to reconnect with joy.  To smile more and laugh more.  To have fun again.  And as joy comes from within, it’s time for me to start my practice of joy again.

If you can relate to how I’ve been feeling, here’s a short version of the 5 keys that I talk about in my guide:

Live in the Moment
Focus on the present moment instead of on where you’ve been or where you’re headed. Really notice what’s happening around you.  This way you don’t miss out on the great “small stuff”: light shining beautifully through the trees, the opportunity to lend a helping hand or the chance to really listen to someone.

Practice Gratitude
Practicing daily gratitude can change your life.  Really.  Acknowledging how fortunate you are and being specific about why you’re grateful – even for the tiniest good thing – helps take your focus off what may be frustrating or upsetting, and attracts more good into your life.  A gratitude journal is a great way to practice gratitude.  Write down one thing each day (or more, if you feel inspired) you’re grateful for.  Then when you’re having a tough day you have something positive to look back on that can help shift your mood.

Embrace Your Awesomeness
You are amazing, right now, exactly as you are.  Yes, you.  Hard to believe, I know, if your inner critic (or monkey mind as it’s sometimes called) constantly fires nasty messages at you.  So, a fun exercise you can do is make a Personal Awesome List (“I am awesome because…”) where you list your amazing qualities (kind, funny, trustworthy, creative, helpful, etc.).  Fill up as much of a page as you can, and read it often.

Rekindle Your Childlike Wonder
Kids are amazing.  They see life as a playground and imagine the most incredible scenarios.  And they don’t filter things out as “impossible.”  We can learn so much from that.

“A grownup is a child with layers on.” ~ Woody Harrelson

Try taking some time to peel back the heavy, burdensome layers you carry, and allow yourself to imagine what you’d like to do or try if there were no limits.  When you were a child, what were activities you loved, that you could do for hours without even realizing it?  Maybe you can incorporate the “flavor” of those activities into your life now.

Boy in wheat field - shutterstock - 535

Seize the Day
Sometimes we get stuck in the monotony of the same-old, same-old.  To experience joy we need to get out of autopilot.  It’s time to shake things up a bit.  Time to add some fun and adventure back into life.  There are lots of simple ways to do this, which include:

Do things differently: Even driving a different route to work could result in something interesting and unexpected happening.

Embrace everyday adventures: Let your heart guide you instead of always listening to practicality.  Instead of saying “no” to a fun chance to step out of your norm, say “yes!”

Embrace silliness: We often take life – and ourselves – too seriously.  Balance it out by lightening things up a bit. Think of a fun, odd and out-of-the-ordinary thing you can try this week. Maybe serenade someone or do a happy dance down the sidewalk!  Let your imagination run wild with thepossibilities. It may feel weird, but it’ll definitely help you feel alive.  Have FUN with it!

friends leap - d sharon pruitt attrib

Though I still haven’t figured out how to prioritize everything, I know I’ll sort it out.  In the meantime, a top priority is to allow joy!


About Christine

Positive thinker. Writer. Lover of travel and adventure, oceans and mountains, and the energy of a big city. Oh, and deep belly laughs, sappy movies and spirited conversations. Believer in limitless human potential.
This entry was posted in Children, Conscious Living, Inspiration, Life, Motherhood, Parenting, Self-care, Self-discovery and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Allow Joy

  1. Carmen Dyer says:

    Hi Christine, I loved your post today! So true, thanks for the inspiration. Time to make time, to take time….for joy!

    • Christine says:

      Thanks Carmen! So glad it resonated. It’s easy to get caught up in the push of everyday life, isn’t it? Yes, time to make time for joy. 🙂

  2. Oh I love this! Christine, thank you for reminding me of silliness, childlike wonder, and awesomeness. All things I seem to forget much too often. I’m gonna take a different path everywhere I go today, with as much silliness as possible.

    Love and blessings,

  3. Jenny says:

    This is a wonderful reminder, Christine! It’s hard to believe how easy it can be to forget joy sometimes – other stuff seems so ‘important.’ I’m currently housesitting a little dog who brings her toy over quite frequently and growls at me if I don’t take time to play. When I do, and then chase her around the couch and get down on the floor with her, the joy is palpable in both of us, and I wonder (again) how I could forget it so easily. Hah. A conundrum.

    • Christine says:

      Thanks, Jenny! I LOVE that – pets are wonderful for bringing us back to the moment! Like children, they somehow seem to understand what’s really important in life, don’t they: love, companionship, fun, silliness, joy!

      Thanks so much for commenting! 🙂

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  5. Hello Christine, I know how wrapped up one can get when we forget to allow joy in and you have shown that it can happen to anyone. For me it tends to happen quite a lot when I am fixated on my own things and I notice that when I take a daily walk everything disappears and I arrive in the present moment and enjoy it and am happier for it by feeling alive and grateful that I am experiencing each life. It’s amazing how things get out of context and we can play the serious character far too long when we can just dip into our essence and experience pure joy and love at any moment! Amazing isn’t it. Have a wonderful joyous and happy New Year in 2014 x
    With love

    • Christine says:

      Hi Ana, you’re absolutely right – we can “easily” access joy and love within! It’s easy because they’re accessible to us at all times, and yet sometimes we get so caught up in our own stuff that it’s difficult to remember they’re there, waiting for us to tap into them. Like you, I find a walk in nature brings me right back to the moment and always makes me feel so alive. The sights, sounds, scents… just beautiful.

      A wonderful, joyful 2014 to you as well!

      With love,

  6. Just what I needed right now, Christine. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I, too, have realized that I’ve got to enjoy now NOW! Wonderful post.

  7. Hi Christine, Thanks for reminding us that the main aim of life is to feel alive!!

    • Christine says:

      Hi Shrikanya, you’re so welcome! It’s something I have to remind myself of too, as you can tell from this post. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  8. Dave Rowley says:

    Hi Christine,

    It’s so easy to forget those things that nourish us the most, isn’t it? I love your five key things to get us hooked back into joyfulness, especially the Personal Awesome List (a PAL!!) that’s something I definitely want to try out.


    • Christine says:

      Hi Dave!

      Yes, far too easy. Self-care must be a priority for me this year. You too? Thanks so much for your thoughts on my five keys. Definitely try the PAL (I like that – I hadn’t tried it as an acronym before!) – it’s really empowering to write one and then add to it and review it. Enjoy! 🙂

  9. Christine, thanks for the great post! It IS easy to get caught up in all the things we need to do as an adult. Finding the Joy and being silly are a MUST! I love your tips! 🙂

    • Christine says:

      Thanks so much, Deanna! I couldn’t agree more about finding joy and being silly. I LOVE silliness. It brings me right back to the moment and reminds me how much fun I have when I don’t take life – and myself – too seriously. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  10. Another great post, Christine! Part of your charm is how relatable you are to readers – you suffer ordinary, everyday challenges, too! But, you keep looking to the Brighter Side and putting into actions those ideas you describe in your fabulous Guide. Yay for you for doing so and inspiring the rest of us! I must say, in reading along, I thought it may not JUST be that you lost sight of joy temporarily. Sometimes we are simply TOO BUSY. I know you’ve done a lot to pare down your “to do” list to the top priorities, and it’s something we struggle with. As you know, I’m delighted to report that – most days – I’ve achieved that elusive balance and it helps me stay focused on joy. The downside for me is looking at all the amazing things other people – like your fine self – are doing and feeling sometimes like I’m not doing “enough” or living up to my “potential.” But I’m happy, so . . . day at a time! Bottom line, we all struggle with whatever our particular challenges, but you remind us of the keys to happiness. Thank you!

    • Christine says:

      Hi Dawn! Aw, thank you so much for your beautiful comment. Yes, there are times when I do feel I’m too busy and I’m still working on paring things down a bit. I’m a work in progress for sure, and there always seems to be an ebb and flow to life. I am SO happy that you are able to focus on joy. I know that you’re an achiever and I’m sure it’s a bit hard to let go of the reins and just allow a beautiful, natural flow to life… but you’re doing it AND finding happiness. And I think, wow – What could be more amazing than that?! You’re showing that it IS possible to change your path and live the incredible life you feel called to live! (Bet you couldn’t imagine yourself back in the same place you were a few years ago)! Big hugs to you!

  11. Glad to know you’ve rediscovered your joy after misplacing it temporarily! It is so easy at this time of year to get overwhelmed with our ‘to do’s which is why I am so glad I read your post, because I can totally relate! Thank you 🙂

    • Christine says:

      Hi Carolyn, thanks! Me too – so glad. Though I have to say I’m a work in progress. I get caught up in my to-do list really frequently – but then I remind myself that it’s not only okay, but actually so important, for me to allow joy.

      I hope you are able to slow down and find joy in the little things too. 🙂

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  13. This is an important and beautiful reminder, Christine. I think we’ve all been there. Tensing and clenching, we become so heavy. We forget that we’re free to fly and drift like feathers, embracing each moment with clear-eyed humour and a gentle smile.

    • Christine says:

      Vironika, I love that – “…free to fly and drift like feathers… clear-eyed humour and a gentle smile” – just beautiful. Yes, it’s so easy to allow tension to creep in without realizing it… but if we set the intention to allow joy, the world opens up again and our shoulders can drop back into a calm, neutral position. 🙂

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      ~ Christine

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