Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category

A Guide to Truth

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Joy is a trustworthy guide to truth. Where joy is absent, we’re right to be suspicious, because joy is a characteristic of truth. It is not truth’s only trait; there are other marks to look for. But any teaching that doesn’t bear the mark of joy falls short of the whole truth. At times other aspects of truth (such as holiness or justice) may predominate, but where these other characteristics exist without a strong undercurrent of telltale joy — watch out!

While joy itself is not the truth, it illuminates or identifies truth. It’s the light shining on the signpost at night, telling us we’re on the right road. Joy is like the smile on the face of a loving friend. If we’re in a strange city and meet a familiar face in the crowd, yet receive no smile of greeting or recognition, we know something’s wrong. It’s a case of mistaken identity.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 93-94

Photo: Neuliningen, Germany, November 1, 1997

Loving Yourself More

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Don’t get confused — loving yourself is not about “me, me, me,” it’s not about being conceited or greedy. I am struggling to explain the difference between loving yourself and being completely self-centered. I think, though, that most people deep down know the difference.

When you love yourself more, you have more love and compassion for others around you. I keep saying you cannot love anyone more than you love yourself. If you only love yourself a little, then that is all then you can love anyone else — your child, your husband, your wife. When you love yourself more, it changes everything. It changes the circumstances in your life. It makes you happier and it makes everyone in your life happier. How could that be selfish?

— Lorna Byrne, Love From Heaven, p. 193-194

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 9, 2014

Improve!

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

When you inspire yourself to improve, you try to make things just a little better — 1 percent will do to start. Thanks to the powerful human inspiration to improve, you don’t necessarily have to “fix” the problem to feel better. You just have to make it a little better. If you’re feeling bad and you think about what you can do to make it a little better — you don’t even have to do it, just think of it — you’ll start feeling better. If you’re upset at your partner, and you think of how you can make yourself feel a little better — shower, take a walk, smell a flower, call a friend, watch a game, chop some firewood, read a book — you’ll start to feel better. Making things a little better frees more mental resources in the neocortex, the problem-solving part of the brain. These added mental resources allow you to make things even better, freeing up more mental resources that enable you to improve yet a little more, and so on. Even if the improvement is only in your head, it will change your emotional demeanor and that will make negotiations with your partner go much better.

— Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, p. 101

Photo: Wildeshausen, Germany, May 16, 2004

Breaking Resentments

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

When we forgive someone, we don’t pretend that the harm didn’t happen or cause us pain. We see it clearly for what it was, but we also come to see that fixating on the memory of harm generates anger and sadness. Those feelings then prevent us from savoring the love and joy available to us right now. Forgiveness is the way we break the grip that long-held resentments have on our hearts.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 193

Photo: Prague, July 16, 2004

Count the Ways We Bless

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Many of us could benefit from taking ten minutes a day not just to count our blessings, but to count the ways we bless others. Instead of dwelling on the bad in ourselves, what if we deliberately took time to dwell on our good qualities? So much unhappiness derives from poor self-image. How can we be happy if we don’t see ourselves as gifted, righteous, pure, beautiful? How can we be happy about a holy God if we persist in seeing ourselves as unholy? Rather than running ourselves down, we need to agree with God who has “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 2:6). To believe in God is to believe also in ourselves.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 92

Photo: Bremen, Germany, December 16, 2003

Sharing Enjoyment

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

We naturally gravitate toward what we love. The more we move toward what we love, the more we enjoy ourselves, and we begin to resonate with it. We find that what we love is also within us. This allows a giving and receiving, a sharing and joining in love, which lets us know it as ourselves. What we love, we then plant in our heart and help grow like a garden. We want to give it to everyone, so they, too, can receive and enjoy what we are receiving and enjoying. Enjoyment always wants to be shared.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 327

[Photo: Keukenhof, Holland, April 17, 2004]

Joy Banishes Loneliness.

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

Joy is a presence. When I’m happy it’s because I do not feel alone. Gone is that gnawing core of anxious ache that makes me think I must face the world alone and handle all my problems without help. Joy fills up this emptiness with a presence. Indeed this mysterious sense of presence is joy’s chief characteristic. There’s a fellowship, a secret companionship, an invisible embrace. Happiness comes wrapped in warmth because it’s literally like being hugged.

Joy, like love, banishes loneliness. Whereas love is specifically directed toward another person, joy has a softer focus. If love is the sun, joy is the moon and the planets — a reflected light. Just as the moon shines only because of the sun, so we are happy only because of the loving presence of the Other. We may not be consciously aware of the Other, nevertheless His presence is the reason for our joy.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 89

Photo: Rhododendron Park, Bremen, Germany, May 16, 2004

Deciding to Love Life

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

You have to make a conscious decision to love life. It won’t happen on its own and no one else can do it for you. One way to help you become conscious of your own love of life is to do as this young man did, and remember the times you felt it in your own life.

Like him, many people have gotten into the habit of not loving life. I don’t think it happens deliberately, but it seems to be a habit that comes easily. It’s a habit, though, that has a seriously destructive effect on our lives, and erodes so much of our potential for happiness. We need to break this habit by starting to see the little joys that are in our lives. I meet mothers who see their lives as one chore after another, and forget to see all the moments when they really love being a mother. When we allow ourselves to love life we get energized mentally and physically, and start to see more purpose in our lives. We become happier and healthier people, more able to cope with whatever life throws at us. We become more compassionate and loving, less judgmental.

— Lorna Byrne, Love from Heaven, p. 115

Photo: Meadowlark Gardens, Virginia, April 3, 2012

The Unboxable Largeness of Life

Monday, August 13th, 2018

The course of a champion requires continual growth. For the person who’s growing, each day is different. Each hour presents new challenges that have to be met with new strategies. If we’re stuck in a rut, we don’t need new strategies; we can live by the same old rules and never change a thing. To joy this is intolerable. Joy requires freshness, newness, stimulation. Joy thrives on the unboxable largeness of life in all its bewildering variety. Depression feeds on sameness, but joy craves a steady diet of fresh, dangerous, wiggling, live game.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 82

[Photo: From Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland, July 2001]

Love of Life

Friday, August 10th, 2018

When you approach work or any task with love of life, the task becomes so much easier, you gain more confidence, and start to see the positives in the work you are doing. You realize how much you enjoy your colleagues, or how nice so many of the customers are, or you simply appreciate going home with a paycheck. When you approach work with this love of life you have more mental and physical energy and are able to do a better job. You are open to see and seize opportunities to learn new things or take on a new job. It helps to move you forward in life. People who really love life are frequently not in the most important jobs. They may not need as much as others need in terms of stimulation, or reward, but they often, though, live much more satisfying and happier work lives than those who seek higher status.

— Lorna Byrne, Love from Heaven, p. 112

Photo: Rota, Spain, December 18, 2005