THE JOY OF LIVING

THE JOY OF LIVING AND LIVING IN JOY

Thoughts become things… choose the good ones!®   ©www.tut.com 

When you read, “thoughts become things”, what comes to mind? Let’s picture it. When you awakened this morning, what was your first thought? Was it positive? Maybe it was thanks for another day or a wish that you would make good decisions or maybe it was thoughts about all you had to get done or the work project needing completion. Perhaps your first thought was how to feed your empty stomach or where you could go to find help with whatever you are facing right now.

What if you created your day based on those thoughts? Picture your thoughts swirling about in the universe waiting for the right time to appear. Do you want those thoughts to be positive or negative? It has been my experience that when I face the day from a place of gratitude and abundance, whether that is reality or not, I am rewarded with more. When I focus on the lack of something—family that is too far away, things I can’t do in the winter, people or relationships that cause friction—my day takes a downward spiral. Who needs more negativity in the world?

When I lived in North Carolina, I was reminded every day that I should make joy the focus—I lived on Joy Place! Talk about a daily wakeup call. Before I left for work and every night when I returned, I was surrounded by Joy Place. My home was on a little pond and sometimes a blue heron would stop there. I grew to think of my home and yard as my sanctuary. That is when I truly started to focus on the joy of living and living in joy.

Even though our world seems wild and crazy and, especially if you are a news hound, tragic and depressing, what can we do about it? How can we make a difference when there are reports of wider COVID transmission because of new variants, racial and religious confrontations, political bickering and accusations, people living under conditions that will almost assuredly lead to hunger and possibly to death, and on and on? Wow! Picturing joy in those situations is a lot to ask.

There actually is something we can do, and it comes back to the creation of thoughts and then following those thoughts with action. After all, haven’t we created the world that we live in today? Oh, our parents and grandparents and other ancestors had an influence on us, but it is our choice to follow their lead or to take a different path. My parents often told the story of my grandfather’s first visit to see my family in Arizona. Granddad was an Iowa farmer, and his impression of the desert was, “What God forsaken country!” Of course, my parents did not share that belief and their love of the desert was instilled in each of their daughters. So much so that we, one by one, moved to Arizona as adults.

Many of us were brought up with biases or sensitivities, whether we want to believe it or not. I grew up in an Iowa town with no racial diversity except at the local college to which I had very limited exposure. Occasionally, a person of color would dine at the restaurant where I waitressed during the summer and, although unusual, I did not give it much thought. There were people of many nationalities, races, and religions at the large university I attended and, again, I did not give it much thought. My parents brought me up to believe that ALL people were created equal and so I always thought I was not biased. However, in my first job out of college I worked side by side with a man of color and I must admit that I felt a bit uncomfortable. It was not a matter of questioning his worth or ability in the workplace, I just felt there was a difference and I wanted to get to know him. Over time, we became friends, and I especially loved his sense of humor. Maybe part of my discomfort was being a newbie, but I think part was a bias or a sensitivity that I had to overcome.

I felt the same discomfort when traveling until my experiences opened my heart and eyes to the fact that people all over the world want the same things and have the same struggles. We have different customs and speak different languages, but our core values are the same. For example, we all want our children to be happy, we want to provide for our family’s needs, we want a reason greater than ourselves to wake up in the morning, and we want to enjoy our time on earth. I found that true in China, Mexico, Australia, and across Europe and North America. There is nothing like travel to make a person discover our sameness—that we are one. We can choose to focus on the similarities, the oneness, or we can choose to fear the differences.

My travels and choices have brought me to a place of deep gratitude. I am not saying that it has been an easy lesson and I am sorry that I have hurt people along the way. I am far from perfect, but I try to start each day with a positive thought and work to maintain that outlook over the day. Some days it is a struggle and others it comes easier. As I practice a positive outlook—to live in joy—it becomes easier. Nevertheless, I often remind myself that everything I do, feel, and say is a choice. Everything! I will not excuse myself for past habits or ingrained outlooks. It all must pass through the filter of joy.

What thoughts are you creating? What kind of life and world do you picture? I hope you agree that we do not need any more pain, anger, fear, or turmoil. If you agree, then set those thoughts aside. If you find it difficult to release the negative, take some time to find the source of those feelings. Perhaps it was something that you learned growing up and it feels safe and comfortable. Maybe you don’t even believe it anymore, but change is not easy. If you agree and you want a better, more peaceful world where all life is valued and basic human needs are met, then change is worth the discomfort.

I believe that your positive thoughts, joined with mine and millions of others, can change the world. I want a better world for my children and grandchildren and their heirs. Please, come join with me and feel THE JOY OF LIVING AND LIVE IN JOY.

May you have a blessed and joyful new year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022!
Bev Bowers, CFP®

 

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