SPARK JOY

Does it “spark joy?” This is a question I heard many times as I watched Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix. With a bestselling book and a reality show, the KonMari method of tidying is getting a lot of attention and I admit to binge watching all 8 episodes within a week. After asking my husband Gary if he wanted to “KonMari his clothes” every day for a month, I’m pleased to announce we both completed step one this past week. And I must say it felt pretty good.

Note: No animals were harmed in this process. Sooner definitely sparks joy for us both!

Our closet and drawers are more organized and we hauled 5 bags of stuff off to local charities. I found certain clothing items did “spark” something……..I wouldn’t necessarily call it joy. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had a real sense of fashion or cared too much about my clothes (except in junior high when I NEEDED to shop at Gap and The Limited or I thought my life might end). These days my wardrobe largely consists of yoga clothes (Hallelujah). So despite the lack of “joy” when handling each item of clothing I own, it did spark something else for me, an opportunity to reflect on joy…..what it is, where it comes from and if we can position ourselves in such a way to experience more of it.

First, joy and happiness are not the same. Happiness tends to be externally triggered and based on other people, places, things, thoughts and events. It seems to come and go quite often. I think joy has the potential to be consistent rather than fleeting and is cultivated internally……coming to peace with who you are, why you are and how you are.

Joy comes from a recognition that we are enough, that we are good, just as we are. It’s not based on how we look, how much money we make, who we know, what we have or don’t have. It’s a profound level of contentment and self acceptance.

There are so many things that can contribute to experiencing joy. Here are a few examples that work for me:

  1. Meditation/Prayer- It’s really important for me to quiet my mind, to be still and to just be. This is a time for me to listen to the voices and messages that matter the most, the ones that remind me that who I am and whose I am is more valuable than what I do.
  2. Gratitude- I find that when I can name things I am grateful for, I experience better balance and well-being. I also try to practice being grateful for challenges that I face, knowing they help me grow and cultivate resilience, helping me better understand what brings me joy and what doesn’t.
  3. Yoga- My yoga practice is an opportunity for meditation and gratitude. Although my body is usually moving in and out of poses, yoga helps settle my mind, to be fully present in the moment. It’s also an opportunity to express gratitude for my physical body and the work it does for me every day.

What in your life “sparks joy?” What are some practical ways you cultivate joy?

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