Sunday, October 9, 2016

60 Second Joy Lesson

What if joy was a rare event, occurring only once a year? Not only would we look forward to that day, we would also worry that something might steal it. Oh, Lord, what if we got food poisoning that day? What if we fell off a mountain or a mountain fell on us? We might string up imaginary barbed wire, hoping to snag trouble before it had a chance to creep up and steal our joy. The problem is, we could get tangled in our self-protection, sabotaging that one, magical day.

Fact: It's impossible to fill your cup with joy if it's already overflowing with worry or regret. A positive outlook can change our lives. That may sound facile, but it's the truest thing I know.
In 1856, a newspaper in Colchester, England wrote about the potent force of our thoughts. Years later, in 1872, an Iowa newspaper reworked the idea a bit.

"Plant a thought and reap a word.
Plant a word and reap an action.
Plant an action and reap a habit.
Plant a habit and reap a character.
Plant a character and reap a destiny."
                                                        --Bishop Beckwaith (credited)


Thoughts turn into action.
Action creates destiny.

If your thoughts and actions are negative, you may be lucky to experience joy once a year. 

I once knew a lady who hunted disappointments the way a squirrel searches for acorns. As the lady repeated a litany of daily insults and horrors, her black mood seeped into me. When I finally stopped listening to the emotional tirades, I felt happier and healthier.

Moods are contagious.
Don't let a miserable person make you miserable.

Happiness can be elusive because we are human. We don't live alone. We have loving families and live in communities. It can feel selfish to follow your dreams--and dreams require tending. 

During the long winter, I studied positive affirmations, and I slowly began to understand that I was like Dorothy Gale, stuck in Oz, unaware that I had the power to return home by clicking the heels of my ruby slippers. Instead of slippers, I had another tool: I could change how I began each day. I could choose optimism.
I wrote down an affirmation.
Then I said the words out loud. I imagined the words rising into the wind. And I let them go. 

During my research, I read that negative thinking will rewire the brain, so you end up like the woman who hunted disappointments. Luckily, positive thoughts rewire neural pathways, too.
Thoughts can shape your destiny.

And what about that strange world that has one joyful day a year? 
Isn't it marvelous that we live in a world where we can choose to be joyful every single day. Maybe we'll only catch a buoyant moment while we're in the butterfly garden. Maybe we'll have a quiet, blissful walk in the woods, gathering sticks. 
One second. One minute. One day.
No matter: it's a gift.
During that time, we let worries be.
We hit negativity with a brick. Whomp it upside the head.
And we will just be happy.

Thoughts turn into action.
Action creates destiny.



(c) Joy Lessons by Michael Lee West

20 comments:

  1. Twice this evening I glimpsed the sliver of moon and thought how beautiful it was.

    Judith

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    1. You've reminded me to look at the moon tonight!

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  2. A good read this morning. Deb

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    1. Deb, thank you for spending Sunday morning with me.

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  3. I will forever be grateful to my mother, who taught me the simplicity in positive affirmation as a young adult. She subscribed me to Unity's Daily Word, and I am not only still subscribing and reading it more than 35 years later, but I subscribe it for both my daughters now. I grew up Catholic, but I co-exist with its principles. The power of positive affirmation has helped me through some very tough times of my past marriage and career, and through the good times of the life I am currently living.

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    1. A wonderful story, Rita. I'm going to look up Unity's Daily Word. Thank you for always bringing joy to my blog through your visits.

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  4. I love the sentiment, "Be the person you would like to meet."

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  5. This is so lovely! Nice photos too ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

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    1. Summer, the pictures were taken in my butterfly garden, a small but special place. Thank you!

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  6. Michael Lee, this post has much to take to heart. I think we may have all known one who lives their life in disappointment rather than finding the joy. The power of positive affirmation is powerful indeed. Wonderful post!

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    1. Thank you so much, Sarah. You are a blessing to me. xxoo

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  7. Love this post, Michael! I know a few people who always turn everything around into a negative and I find myself exhausted being around them. Then there are those friends who are the opposite. Such a difference.
    Shelley

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  8. Wow...just in time! A negative nelly has been hounding me. I need to shake it off. Good post! Sheila

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  9. Thanks Michael Lee for your timely post on Joy. My Sunday evening has been peaceful and your thoughts on positive affirmation has struck a cord. With the birth of our first grandson Ethan, my husband and talk a lot about joy and presenting the positive in our family and being grateful. Why be negative? We went to be positive role models. Thumbs up👍🏻!!

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  10. I so loved reading your thoughts, Michael Lee. You are truly an inspiration to me. On thing that I do every night, as I begin my prayers, is remember three things that I'm thankful for. We all need JOY in our lives. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

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  11. A most beautiful post....My mom always told us that we should find Joy in realizing that we woke up and saw the sun. She is a person that is just happy to be alive and we get great Joy in her example and outlook on life.

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  12. I'm so behind in my blog reader and almost skipped over this. Thank goodness I didn't! I needed this today. Thank you!

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  13. Thank you for this. Beautifully said ~

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  14. I so needed to re read this tonight, Michael Lee. Thank you, again.

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