What brings you joy?

Joy is one Of those words that can be so subjective. If we were honest we would all say there is a specific set of criteria that brings joy to our soul. To my mother it was the smell of yeasty bread dough rising and giving off that distinct fragrance that would lead to delicious bread, or sniffing a can of cocoa powder. To me I think Joy is defined in the faces of others as they react to my life. It’s when my art resonates with someone so much that makes me cry.

Joy has been on my mind as a diversion from the sadness of life. Everything in life pulls us in directions. The nightly news is enough to leave me in a perpetual funk! War, natural disaster, crime, climate change… too much to process in steady daily feeds. My life has improved as I remove some of these news feeds from my life. Instead, I prefer to pursue joy, find those things and people that bring me joy and focus on that.

A study by neuroscientist and researcher Roger Bob of University of California at San Diego indicates the average person is inundated with “the equivalent amount of 34 Gb (gigabytes) of information, a sufficient quantity to overload a laptop within a week.” That includes not just written text, but everything our eyes and ears can take in. Keep in mind some of this is wonderful, stimulating information. But the truth is there is a sizable percentage that is stressful, negative, overwhelming. What we choose to permit into our lives will propel us.

I like to be practical and have actionable things to do to live out my hope for adding more joy to my life. Here are a few things that help me:

    Be aware of the news of the world, but limit your naked of news media by turning it off, or getting only news briefs once a day on your phone or tablet.
    Accept that some people negatively influence you. Set firm boundaries and limitations on their place in your life.
    Determine each day to do something you love. Pursue things and people that energize you.
    Fill your mind with good information, surround yourself with beauty whether your garden, home or office. I keep a steady stream of good for my mind and soul books in the pipeline.
    Music -add more music to your life.
    Choose to take time to silence all the electronics, and give yourself the respite to just unplug.

So I choose joy. I choose to turn off those things that disrupt my soul, shake my peace, and dissolve my happiness. Instead I want to purpose to get lost in painting silk, or soaking in the beauty of nature on a walk with my hubby. Or relish the moments playing with our dogs. Or get away, dip my toes in the sand, gaze at a star filled night sky in a place far from the light polluted city I live in, and take deep breathes. And for those moments the world is a more tolerable place.

What is your joy? I would love to hear from you.