I was waiting with my youngest son (Bear) and watching him drift off to sleep. His eyes were heavy, his breathe slowing, his body relaxing. I looked up at the ceiling fan and watched the slow rhythm and felt the gentle breeze.

And there it was– joy.

It was unmistakably big, full, clean and fresh.  I was amazed at the largeness of the joy and gratitude that came up in that moment. My heart was bursting. My eyes were wet. And I kept thinking,

“This. Is. It.”

My beloved Zen practice calls it “Thisherenow.” This moment right now, right here, in the yuck and the yum of life. This. Is. It. This is all we have because the past is gone and the future, well- who knows about the future. It is all make-believe. We can dream and scheme with absolutely no control of the outcome. This. Is. It. Right now. Whew. Take a breath.

Thank You Joy Challenge.

So after a week of gratitude, positive journaling, exercising, meditating, and saying/emailing thank you’s to people, I can honestly say my thoughts are turning more positive. That doesn’t mean I don’t have moments of negativity! AND when I have those moments, I’m reminded that I can turn to joy, gratitude. My internal conversation goes something like this:

“I can’t believe that he took my bag! I just washed that bag! Everyone knows that is MY bag!”

Pause. The thought ‘Joy Challenge’ passes over my mind and I start looking at things differently.

“Hmm. I’m really upset about a bag. I’m noticing feeling attached to that bag. What if he needs that bag more than I do? Can I be upset and still be ok? Yes. Can I be ok without the bag? Yes. Is it true that I need the bag? No. What do I have that I’m grateful for? Another bag. The food that I was going to put in the bag. Compassion for myself and others.” 

It is like magic. 

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Magic because it instantly can diffuse a tricky situation, calm my fears, or bring up compassion for myself even if I can’t change the situation.

So what do I have? Freedom.

Freedom from believing my thoughts. Freedom from blaming others for my happiness. I’m just here. Now. Able to choose Joy.

I think I’m ready for Week 2 of the Joy Challenge. How about you? Share your experiences in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

In Peace, Joy, and Freedom,


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