This article appeared originally in Blissings Ezine in February 2006.
As I stood in the shower this morning, mulling over all the tasks on my to-do list, a thought occurred that shocked and delighted me, “Joy first. Then anything else I have time for.”
My ever-alert inner commentator gagged,
“Joy first. Then anything else I have time for,”
I repeated, firmly.
My inner commentator hooted with derision. “You’ve got to be nuts! You have so much on your plate today, if you don’t swing into action right now, put your nose to grindstone and start completing on some projects, you are going to be working all weekend.”
I sighed as I felt my energy disappearing down the drain with the water, before my day had even begun. Then I noticed something else. Between the squawking commentaries of my inner taskmaster, I heard a different voice, a peaceful comforting voice that said, “Remember, you are here for the joy of the journey.”
Questions for a Joyous Journey
Immediately I felt my mood improving and a resurging of my energy – at least enough that I remembered to ask myself those all-important, ego-dodging questions:
- What if I really didn’t NEED to do anything?
- What if I could just find a way to feel a little better?
- What if I could just let this be easy?
What if I just follow my joyful impulses and see what happens?
Right then I felt a joyful urge to go and snuggle with my 10-year-old son, Ben, before he got up. I was feeling better already.
Hey, I thought… this would be a good idea to write about in my ezine! What if I just started writing now, while I feel inspired?
So I did. And it flowed.
Why “Joy First”?
When you’re in the flow you show up fully in the moment, enjoying the wonder of life. When you’re in the flow, everything goes perfectly; you flow with creative ideas, everything you need arrives at just the right moment, and everybody seems friendly and helpful. When you’re in the flow your joy bubbles over infecting and enlivening everyone you touch.
Can you recall a time when you’ve felt “in the flow?” You probably thought that you felt good because you were in the flow, but the truth is that the flow happens when you feel good! That “life is wonderful” feeling is the energy that makes wonderful things happen.
Like a magnet, your feeling state attracts the things and experiences that reflect your feelings. So, if you improve your mood even a little bit, you’ll attract more of what you desire: the better you feel, the better your life works.
So How Do I Choose “Joy First”?
A few hours after my inspiration in the shower, my mother and sister Lydia came from Calgary and Edmonton to spend the weekend with us. I hugged them and declared, “We are really going to have a good time this weekend: joy first, then anything else we have time for!”
With six of us, aged from 10 to 79, it was challenging, at times, to decide where to go and what to do, but my motto of “Joy First” reminded me to let go of struggling. I let joy inspire our choice of activities; after all, when joy is present, love comes along for the ride.
Our time together passed quickly with long talks, walks in nature, a visit to a llama farm, and a little shopping. Inevitably, my mother and sister left again and Monday morning rolled ’round. We’d had a wonderful time and I just couldn’t seem to get myself enthused about getting back to work. Fifteen minutes before my first coaching client my energy was still flagging. And then I remembered – “Joy First!” What would make me feel really good right now?
I sat down in my easy chair, closed my eyes, and took a few minutes to allow images of our delightful weekend to fill me with joy. I set my intention to remember “Joy First” as I went through my day. Then I got up, put my favourite CD on the stereo, turned up the volume, assumed the famous rock star position and started singing along with the Beach Boys: “Good, good, good vibrations!” I felt joyful and back in the flow.
Would You Like to Live from “Joy First”?
If so, pay attention to the way you feel before jumping into action. If you feel un-joyful soothe yourself until you feel better feelings; instead of struggling to do and to go, do something to replenish and enliven yourself – listen to music, recall happy times, imagine future happiness, and then let joy inspire your choices and your actions – that’s how you choose Joy first.
Our basic essence is joy. Being in joy is to experience our True Selves. As Alan Cohen says,
The best way to get what you want is to be what you are.”