Where do you typically derive your joy from?
Pure joy comes from within.
Now, I’m NOT saying pure joy comes exclusive of others. What I AM saying is pure joy is sparked by interactions with the external, but the actual joy – the light, the euphoria – comes from within. Let me further explain this notion through the analogy of the lighting of a candle.
Imagine yourself as a pillar candle with a wick running through your center. The wick possesses the ability to be lit and is waiting for something to spark the flame. An external force – a lit match – comes in contact with the wick and sparks the flame that lights it. The flame is ignited and stays lit from the wick but it is sparked by the match it was touched by.
In the same way, your soul has certain propensities toward joy that are then sparked by external influences – people, sights, objects, environments, sounds, smells, the list goes on.
If this is the case, it would be wise for you to pay attention to two things – 1) learning what your propensities toward joy are and 2) curating what external influences you allow in your life.
Are you aware what external influences spark your joy? Are you aware which ones snuff out your joy? Once you identify these you are better equipped to curate your environment accordingly.
For instance, be wise in what you allow to spark your wick. Continuing with the candle analogy, I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t use a stick of dynamite to light your candle would you? No?
Then why do you schedule your days with an impossible list of things to do so that at the end of the day you feel anxious and exhausted and like you didn’t accomplish anything?
Then why can’t you find the courage to say no to getting together with a group of women who spend most of the time complaining about their significant other or gossiping about neighbors – so you show up out of obligation and you get home and lay your head on your pillow and feel that gnawing pang of ‘yuck’ in your gut?
Then why do you spend your commute time listening to the news, then come home and spend hours reading Facebook comments from people you have never met, of which you have no knowledge of their background, experiences or intentions and you are left with a heavy heart, feeling offended and utterly discouraged regarding the future of mankind?
Because you are looking to external influences for your joy.
You’re looking for the match to be the wick and they aren’t the same. They aren’t interchangeable. How long after you light the wick does the match stay lit? The match quickly fizzles out right? The wick inside the candle is what stays lit. The wick is what holds the flame.
The external influence sparks the joy that is already waiting within you. If you are counting on the match to stay lit, you are looking in the wrong place. You are relying on the external and you will always be disappointed.
“Be lit from within – surround yourself with that which sparks your light.” ~ CK
You must be intentional in how you design your day, in how you create your physical space and in who and what you allow into your life. For instance…
Set yourself up for success and don’t schedule an impossible number of tasks into your day. Learn to be realistic in what you can accomplish in 24 hours with relative ease.
De-clutter your spaces at home and work. Release the items that no longer serve you or do not bring you joy.
Pay attention to what influences you allow into your physical space – balance out your time spent listening to the news (or stop listening altogether like I did a few years ago!) with positive happenings around you. Set a timer when you hop on FB and weed out friends lists to only those who are respectful and share thought-provoking and honoring posts.
Let me share an example of one ‘match’ or external object that sparks my joy. Birds. Oh how my soul lights up when I am on a hike and see a hawk gliding overhead. My heart skips a beat and my body is filled with pure joy. Or when I am sitting at my dining room table and I see the vibrant hummingbirds flitting and whirring about outside my window peeking in at me. These beautiful, graceful creatures spark pure joy within my heart.
I encourage you to begin the journey, today, toward identifying what lights you up from within and then surround yourself with the people, places and things that spark that internal joy that will then burn brightly and for extended periods of time!
Take gentle care…