Three years ago I visited ‘The Silos’ in Waco, Texas. I stumbled upon a package strung up all fancy, placed perfectly on a mantel, and on it hung the word “Joy”.  The word stood out to me that day. I don’t know if it was the way the package was decorated or the spirit that filled the little shop, yet I began to notice the word JOY everywhere.

Like, everywhere.

Last year, I received the book “The Book of Joy” for Christmas.  Preferring audio books, I let it sit on my shelf for a few weeks before I decided to crack it open.  When I began, it was hard to put down.  The Dhali Lama and Desmond Tutu spent a week together to speak about how they MAINTAINED their state of constant joy in the midst of such persecution.

At one time in my life I found myself losing my joy because of circumstances around me.  I learned that this was classic VICTIM behavior- blaming others for my circumstances.  I learned that I was allowing others to affect me AND I also learned that I held the power to not allow others to control how I felt.

I never understood the phrase “do not let anyone steal your power”, until recently.  It wasn’t until a business coach used the word “joy” instead of “power” that I finally understood.  I worked too hard to let someone take my joy away.  I worked so hard to maintain a joyful heart and mind, I was not allowing anyone to take it, yet I was.  I was In a journal written in 2016, one of my chapters included a statement about what I can control.  It was something I had been working so hard on, because I was working in an environment where the circumstances were unpredictable.

“I am in complete control of my emotions.  I am in complete control of my responses.  I am in complete control of holding my joy, so sacred, that no matter what may happen around me, it remains”.

It is an inside job.  Joy is an inside job.  Did you know that your state of being can be the ONE THING never wavered even though you may be going through extreme circumstances?  NOTHING can take it away.

Joy is sacred to me.  I began to shift from the perspective that joy is CONTINGENT to joy is CONSTANT when I practiced saying “no” and also began to release my attachment to others’ responses.  One simple step I applied to my life was to make decisions quickly and without apology.  Your truth needs no explanation.  The key to holding my joy was to stop asking for permission, act quickly and listen to my inner voice.  The second I let go of my emotional attachment to others’ responses, I finally had freedom.

If you are in a situation right now where you are afraid to make a leap, could it be that you are afraid about what others may think?  I tell you what, sweetheart, with any decision you make, you will probably disappoint somebody.

Here are some simple steps that I took and found freedom.

  1.  Stop asking people for their opinion. Everyone will have their own opinion and perspective, none of which have ever traveled your path.
  2. Say “no”.
  3. Do not explain yourself.  A simple “Shoot, I am not available at that time, how about ____?” works miracles!
  4. Do not feel obligated to explain yourself, defend your position or feel the need to convince why you want to do something a certain way.
  5. Stop asking permission.
  6. Decide quickly (the 5-second rule was a life-changer)
  7. Meditate/have quiet prayer time every day.  3-5 minutes works like a charm
  8. Gratitude – daily. Keep a journal, post them all over your mirrors and walls.

 

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