When I first had my experience of God, I truly believed I was going crazy. I was not raised to believe that another side of life existed and was ready to check myself into the hospital. But several things gave me pause. One, my experience was beautiful, and it made me feel very joyful and very peaceful. Two, I met and talked with people who were conversant in the spiritual world and found it completely ordinary that something like that would happen to a person.
It became more and more okay for me to accept the reality of a spiritual world as I accepted my experience. The bigger work was learning that the spiritual world was not more important than the physical world, but equally so. We are here in the physical world to live out our lives on the earth. Guidance from the spiritual world makes that process more joyful and much easier.
Steering your ship means guiding your life in the way you would like it to go. There are so many opportunities each day to connect with many different types of people and experiences. Which ones do you choose? All experiences are ultimately good and will bring you to a new understanding of who you are, but getting still and listening to the voice within will help guide you towards your most joyful choices. Get connected and use that knowledge to steer your ship. Create the life that is right for you.
Having patience can be so hard in healing, and so important. Trust that your time will come, and that your healing will come. Whatever it is that you’re waiting for, let yourself sit with it. Don’t distract yourself with substances and chemicals and shows and Twitter – let yourself sit and be. Whatever it is that you’re waiting for will come. If you could see from above, you would see how everything is interconnected and happening at the right time. I’ve had to learn to be patient, and when I could not see how things would ever work out, somehow they worked out just perfectly, eventually. Wishing you patience today.
Move towards those things that bring you happiness. What brings a smile to your face? What brings you genuine joy in your heart? Find what makes you happy and do it. It doesn’t have to be amazing, big, or impressive. It can be something small. And while I believe it’s possible to create happiness within before you do anything outside of yourself, I also believe that certain things in your outer world will be a match for your heart, and will light you up in a way that feels uniquely happy to you.
Growing into adulthood, I often judged the things that made me feel happiness, as if they weren’t important enough. I also didn’t value happiness or joy as something that mattered. I thought it was selfish and frivolous to be happy. Now, I truly believe it matters a lot. You are here to feel joy. You are here to be your fullest self, and part of that is allowing yourself to be happy.
The things that make you happy will be unique to you and will be a signature of your heart. What brings a smile to your face? What makes your heart sing? I dare you to write a few of them down and do at least one of them every day. If you are already doing that, then wonderful!
I leave you with this poem by Mary Oliver. Chances are you may have read it, but if not, I hope you enjoy your first reading of it. It’s a beautiful and powerful poem that holds so much meaning.
Hope you have a great day with at least one chance to do something that makes you happy.
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
True joy cannot be found outside of yourself. You may find some happiness there, in the people or things around you, but it will not be lasting. People will change, things will go away, and you will be left again with yourself. For real, true joy, you must go within. Get still and awaken the flame in your heart. There joy is.
I used to put a lot of stock into how successful I could be. I thought if I made good grades and built a great resume, then I could be happy. I was always making plans for myself in a vain attempt to find happiness. Of course, I could not be happy that way. I still had healing to do. I learned to go within, where I could heal. That is where I found true joy.
You are equipped to feel that joy because you were created in love. Follow the thread of your heart. It will lead you to that place of joy. You can be there. You were born to be there. Turn off your mind, get still, and you will find the path. Your heart connects you to God. Your heart will lead you to joy.
What makes you feel joy? What sparks that feeling for you? What makes you smile? Whatever it is, do that more! Even if it is something small or if it seems insignificant. I believe feeling joy is one of the big reasons why we’re alive. Feeling joy, happiness, and contentment is a sure sign that you are aligned with your soul’s purpose.
As a child, I knew what joy felt like. I fell into a joyful state relatively easily, if memory serves me correctly. There seemed to be so much light and peace, and things were safe. As an adult, it takes some practice. It’s easy to get caught up in my day to day life. Jobs, family, finances, stress all end up in the forefront of my mind and leave little room for joy. It can also seem selfish to feel joy in a world that can have so much suffering, but the goal is not to stop you from feeling joy. It’s to make it possible for more and more people to be in a place to feel happy.
It doesn’t have to be hard to find this simple happiness. Some things that easily bring me joy are nature, gardening, my family, spending time with friends, and writing, to name a few. What brings you joy? Think of at least five things that help you feel that happiness, and try to do at least one of them every day.
Most of our lives are taken up by very mundane, even boring, tasks. Some of my more mundane daily tasks include making beds, cleaning up toys, making breakfast, making lunch, commuting to work, doing paperwork, bathtime, and bedtime, to name a few. Sometimes these tasks seem far from my experience of connecting to God, but I know that they are a big way that I can stay present and be of service to the world.
Connecting to the divine doesn’t mean we stop participating in our daily lives, we just approach them differently. As the Zen quote goes, “before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” Once we have an experience or knowledge of our oneness to the divine, our outer lives don’t always change. We still must participate in the life of the body, and the life of this world.
I try to practice breathing and being present as I do these tasks. Sometimes I even find them relaxing and satisfying – especially making the beds. I love being able to create a safe home for my daughter, which includes trying (and often failing) to keep the house peaceful and clean and orderly. I also love the chance to practice being present in my body, especially since smart phones are such a distraction! I can’t look at my phone while doing these daily tasks, and I’m glad for it.
Doing mundane tasks is a huge part of our lives on earth. These tasks, while perhaps a little boring, keep us rooted in our realities. If we approach them with love and an open heart, they can be a source of joy and even freedom.