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How to Experience More Joy

weedsWhich do you see? The weeds? or the rose?

A habit worth developing is “instantly switching attention from whatever feels bad to whatever feels good. Whenever I have negative feelings–disappointed, irritated, frustrated, in short, anything less than joy–it’s because I’m thinking about something I don’t want.

Anyone struggling with creating anything is well aware of the challenge of maintaining a high vibration, “good feelings.” And Esther Hicks reminds us constantly that if we’re not getting what we want, it’s because we’re “focusing on that which you do not want.”

But what if we’re not into manifesting or co-creating or any of that? Is there a lesson from that for people just trying to do their lives? Yep. It’s exactly the same for everyone:

If we are not feeling good, we are focusing on “what we don’t want.”

I got this in a big way in 2011 when I was trying to learn different manuscript formats for venues (eBooks, print, etc.) to publish my first book. (I actually did the formatting myself). Despite the fact that I was laser-beam engaged with the process, actually loving every minute of learning something new that certainly incorporated things I already enjoy–creating, expressing myself, playing with artsy presentations, etc.–I repeatedly found myself focusing on “what wasn’t working” instead of what was. I was focusing on the “weeds”, not the “rose”.

weedsI filled journal pages (and these posts) with my frustration which led to doubting, which led ultimately to stopping altogether. I needed time to step back–simply remove myself and do something else for a while– until I could regain my perspective.

By focusing on what I didn’t want–the frustration of “getting it wrong over and over and over again”–I built up a potent energy that needed to express, and express it did: through a young gal who followed my car so closely she couldn’t stop hers when an accident happened several cars in front of us and she plowed right into my rear-end bending the frame of my car!

And so I spent some weeks re-grouping, walking trails, attending my gardens, but mostly just being with Mom Earth, letting her smooth my feathers down. It worked. I’m myself again.

That’s several weeks of work that I missed, but I learned this lesson: When you find yourself feeling anything but joy, switch it instantly back to joy…or BAM! instant life adjustment, super thump from cosmic cops.

So how does one instantly switch the focus of attention?

Here’s what worked for me. I keep an ongoing list of things that bring me joy, including things I might not have yet. Included in this list are people, places, events, feelings, and… “stuff,” that is, actual “things.” Some of these items are now or have been part of my experience at one time; others are “future items” that evoke good feelings. Some items on my list are huge, like my dream home, “off the grid,” in a natural environment with trees near water, a beautiful view, wall to wall book shelves in a library room… sigh. And some are quite small, like Chocolate Peanut Butter ZigZag frozen dessert (which I enjoyed last week). What they all have in common is that I get good feelings when I think about them.

What I discovered the last several weeks is that my list could be summoned instantly to change my mood, creating good feelings on the spot. With practice, I can now switch my attention instantly, wherever I am, whatever I’m doing. Here’s how it happened:

Whenever anything felt bad, I removed my attention from it and consciously focused on something that brought me joy. Like this rose in an overgrown lot on my walk. In the beginning, it actually meant removing myself from the situation. One time, I actually left a class when I realized the teacher was not what she presented herself to be, and I was rewarded moments later with seeing a bear in a tree on my way home–a joy I would have missed had I stayed in the irritating class with the imposter.

red roseThen I learned to bring more consciousness to the situation itself. For example, weeding some particularly dug-in weeds, I refused the temptation to feel frustrated; instead, I focused on how beautiful it was the last time I cleaned up this garden. And my very loud cat who screeches demands at 6:30 a.m.? She got picked up and snuggled instead of hurled off the balcony. Just kidding.

But you get the gist of it. When we’re in the present moment — not thinking about anything but what’s happening now — we have complete power over where we put our attention. We can either add to the huge pile of negativity we’ve been building since birth… or… we can consciously grow that pile of personal positive feelings instead.

I know which one I’m choosing.

Till next time, I’ll be skating thru all the opportunities life sends me, consciously choosing joy. How about you?
~Pam

[by Dr. Pam Young, originally posted here, on SkatingThru2012.com, 2013]

UPDATE: Weird Indy Publishing Project

thumbnailBecause I pretty much worked non-stop on Book 1 of the BURNOUT to BLISS series from July 1 til January 8–even through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays, I’m giving myself a break for a week just to BE, however I choose to show up. Two days ago it was flat on my back on the queen-sized futon under the skylight with Eli Bower’s book, SEER (good read!). But I also did some things:

  • deleted all but today’s emails (>1600) so I could start fresh next Monday,
  • actually (mostly) cleaned my tiny apartment,
  • collected books for donation,
  • made great food (I had Salmon Florentine for Christmas),
  • Netflixed several series OA and Stranger Things (again),
  • re-discovered a friend, Cribbage and Trimble Hot Springs,
  • and played fetch with my cat, Kali

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At the moment, my intentions for writing this year are:

  1. draft books 2-4 of the Burnout to Bliss series,
  2. create the Bonus Resources appropriate for each book,
  3. publish at least Books 2 and 3,
  4. learn more about marketing from Derek Murphy, Chris Fox and Book Marketing Tools,
  5. do broad-stroke beats for a YA series similar to books by Eli Bower (SEER) and Jerri Lincoln (Unicorn books) re’ teaching important lessons with a good story.

Thanks for reading! See you next time! ~Pam

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4 responses to “How to Experience More Joy

  1. Hi Pam
    I read the Burnout 1 nonstop. Have not done that for decades! Some was a flash-back and made me homesick for the deserts. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole book. Hope you finish the next one soon!
    DearWebby

  2. Wow! Thank you! Will you consider posting your comments on Amazon? Indy publishing is a tough business. About Book 2… I don’t dare say when, only that my intention is that it come out around my birthday! I’m Pisces/Aries.

  3. Tried, but they want me to first buy a whole bunch more books from them, before they allow me to post a review. I’ll post it on FB, and will figure out a way to sneak it into the editorial part of the DearWebby Humor Letter. I will be off for a few days because of injections into my eyeballs. Look for it in the Monday issue. Please send me the best link for people to buy it from.
    Have FUN!
    DearWebby

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