A wise woman once told me : “Actively seek out joy”
At first I found this strange, surely that’s a bit forced. Why would I need to seek it out, aren’t we are either happy or not ?
But I am realising more and more that what I experience in my life is largely a product of my own creation. Obviously I don’t control what happens in the world. Things are the way they are, but it’s me that puts the meaning into it. The Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says: “ What we focus on we become”
I remember reading about how they had studied the faces of murderers in the Victorian era to see if there was any difference, and yes their faces were hardened and contorted. If this is true, what we focus on we become. It carries through to our very features and our bodies carry the imprint and the story of our life. Our memories of events can trigger emotions like fear which sets off all sorts of chemical reactions within our body. So our emotions too have a profound effect. Our thoughts and emotions shape and create our very bodies.
So I began to ask myself, what brings me joy? What effect would joy have on my thoughts, on my body?
The twinkle in my daughter’s eye
The delicious bittersweet taste of freshly brewed coffee
The saltiness of the sea on my skin
A chat with the woman at the checkout
A beautiful flower blooming in the cracks of the pavement
Connecting from the heart
Deep conversations and cups of tea
The bright blue colour of the sky on a sunny day
Catching the eye of a nervous little dog
And what I found out is that they are the small simple things in the every day moments. The little things that are around us all the time. There is magic in these things, right here , right now. And for some reason today I feel moved by the simplicity and ease of that.
I know the world is complicated too, and there is pain and suffering. But somehow in amongst it all there is also this golden thread of magic and possibility that runs through it all.
What if we chose to focus on this golden thread instead ? There is an old Cherokee story that talks about two wolves that are fighting within us. One of them is evil and full of resentment and hatred, the other is full of joy, peace, love and happiness. The question is which wolf wins, and the grandfather answers that it’s the one we feed.
And so I ask you .. What brings you joy? As Mary Oliver says in her poem The Wild Geese : “ You only have to let the sweet animal of you body love what it loves”
Adi Howarth is a homeopath, massage therapist and mum living in Brighton and actively seeking out joy. Do get in touch with her if you would like to find out how homeopathy or massage could help you email@example.com
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