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The difference between happiness & joy. And why it helps to know.

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There’s a difference between the definition of happiness and the definition of joy. It’s valuable to be aware of this because when things get tough, logic might want you to default to despair, or utter sadness or worse, you might think you have to choose between hardship and joy, or support and separation, or light and dark.

Consciousness is not an either/or equation. It’s about bothness.

The capacity to expand into bothness — the awareness of your joy in all circumstances — is so much of what it means to evolve.

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, wracked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”
– Agatha Christie

Happiness is like rising bubbles — delightful and inevitably fleeting. Joy is the oxygen — ever present.

Happiness is always passing through. It can claim your full attention for the ten seconds it takes to swallow a sip of incredible coffee. Or it can stream through your being for weeks on end. But happiness can’t hold the same space as sadness, or anger, or the range of so-called “negative” emotions for very long. This is why it’s transitory.

Joy is the fibre of your Soul.
It’s the stuff of your essence. And since you, your Soul, can never be annihilated (yes, that would make you eternal and omnipresent), your access to joy never vanishes. Because joy is so foundational to your true being, every other state or emotion can rest on top of joy, it can accommodate everything.

This means that it’s possible to grieve with your whole heart, and still sense your joy. You can feel rage, and be aware of joy waiting patiently for you to return, and take deep comfort in that.

You can get fired, dumped, dumped on, and pulled through the eye of a needle, and still feel held by the container of joy — the truth of your existence.

When you arrive at this awareness (you’ll likely have to go through the ringer to get there), your logical mind is going to be confused.

“I’m going through hell. This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me…so what’s this mighty warmth I feel within? I must be losing it. I must be in denial. I should get back to misery.”

Stay with the misery. Stay with the mighty warmth emanating from within.

“I’m aching over this loss, so can this aching gratitude in my core be real? Am I betraying my memories? Am I denying my pain?”

Not at all. You’re expanding.

When you see joy beside the agony, you have the keen vision of a Soul warrior.

It has never failed that when I have been through the most heart-breaking passages of my life — betrayal, financial hardship, divorce, dreams dashed — the pain brought me to the floor of my being, and what was there to be found?

The simple joy of being alive. So cosmically basic it’s mind-blowing: the joy to be here, connected, animated, breathing, blessed, resilient, to be broken, to be open, to have what was, what’s left, what’s coming. The joy just to be part of reality.

Happiness. Love it when it comes.

Joy. It’s the love that lasts no matter what.


 

Please encourage someone to lean into their joy xo

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Happiness is like rising bubbles — delightful and inevitably fleeting. Joy is the oxygen — ever present.
Joy is the fibre of your Soul.

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Photo credit: Catherine Just

 

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When you’re done fighting for it. The upside of finally giving up.

Do you know the story of the man who was hitting himself over the head with a hammer? “Why do you keep hitting yourself with that hammer?” a shocked passerby asked him. “Because,” the man replied, “it’s going to feel so good when I stop.”

Examine the evidence. You keep fighting the same fight. You’re losing sleep. You’re sick of hearing yourself complain about the same damn things over and over again (yammer, hammer, hammer). Clearly, wrestling isn’t getting you closer to free. It’s quite possible that…you have no fight left in you.

This is excellent news! This is beautiful! Because…

When you have no fight left in you, you get to stop fighting. This defeat can be a major victory.

He’s not going to change — even though he could. And if he did, it would take a few years — how many more years are you going to give? She’s not going to budge. She’s told you so, repeatedly — so believe her. Your industry isn’t getting more enlightened, the signs are everywhere — stop trying to change the game and go where you can really play. In terms of some of your dreams…if it were going to happen, it would have happened by now.

(And, if you’re resolved to hang in there, I’ve got lots of encouragement and practical sermons for your cause. I wrote a book about goals with soul. But today, we’re talking about the divinity of laying your burden right the hell DOWN.)

4 ways to make it easier to let go of goals and projects this includes work projects, relationship “projects”, soul projects:

  1. Focus on the relief of giving up. I’m going to stop fighting with this because I just.want.peace. I’m going to stop grinding, because I want more ease in in my life. I’m declaring my karma PAID, IN FULL. I’m done learning my lessons through suffering, I’m going to learn more gracefully now. 
I know there’s a better way and I’m going to allow for that. I already feel relieved.
  2. Focus on the benefits of no longer fighting. Less fighting, less crying, less over-eating, fewer therapy bills. More sleep, more space, more time, more creativity, more free expression, way more energy, more YOU…(keep the list going…)
  3. Focus on your core desired feelings. The big bonus of NOT feeling the way you want to is that you get really clear on how you DO want to feel. We learn through contrast.
  4. Focus on your NEW ideal. Note: NEW. Don’t slip into dream-resurrection. (They’ll change, you’ll change, the industry will change…) You want an equal relationship, you want to feel vital, you want to earn a living that’s totally in sync with your soul.

When you stop struggling to make something go the way you’ve wanted it to, you shift the energy grid of your life. Facing the facts is liberating (even though it can be wrenching) — and with that truth comes a major power surge.

When you’re done fighting, you’re.done.fighting. It’s a bittersweet relief. Focus on the sweet.

 

P.S. Check out my For motivation and purpose clarification reading list for most posts like this one. Real talk. No sugar-coating, but lots of love. Truth and love.


 

Share with light lovers who can relate xo

Tweet it out:

When you have no fight left in you, you get to stop fighting. This defeat can be a major victory.
When you’re done fighting, you’re.done.fighting. It’s a bittersweet relief. Focus on the sweet.

Click here to Pin the image to the right, or right click to download + share on Instagram.

Photo credit: Catherine Just

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You will be called on to expand. And this is why we practice.

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I travelled to Dharamshala, India with six friends to meet with The Dalai Lama. It was cell-altering and heart-expanding.

The week before our arrival, there had been a horrible event in which some monks were murdered — most shockingly, by other monks. The story was on everyone’s mind and in our small, private meeting with His Holiness, the first thing we did was offer our condolences. His response captivated me.

“Ah, yes, thank you for your thoughts,” he said. “This is why we practice, for times like these when compassion is so necessary.” He didn’t nod in mutual disdain. He didn’t show any drama. He was soft and…practical.

This is why we practice.

For times like these.

You don’t need to forgive until you need to forgive. You don’t need nerves of steel until you need nerves of steel. You don’t need to call on your reserves of compassion, or fortitude, or faith until you’ve used up everything else.

This is why we practice.

This is why, even when life is ambling along nicely and there’s food in our spiritual cupboard, we still make sure that we get to yoga, or the reading group, or Sunday services.

When we’re healthy and happy we make sure to dance, we hit the court, we pick up the phone to check in, we drop by with something in hand.

When we’re believing in the fairness and the glory of human nature and the so-called Fates, we keep seeking, and meditating on reality, and praying for healing even though nothing obvious ails us. We keep up with our spiritual practice.

We keep standing up to make our art even when we could be predictable pedestrians.

Because the day will most certainly come, as it does whether you are a whole-hearted Lover or in denial of Grace, that you will be struck down or ground down by life. It can come in tiny tearing heartbreaks five times a day, just walking through your neighbourhood. It could come in the name of tragedy that could only happen once in a lifetime.

And you will need to withdraw the insights that you put into your heart’s escrow. And you will need to call on your people — the unseen and the ones right in front of you — to help you meet the day.

You will be interrupted.

You will be called on to expand.

You will be asked who you are and why you are here.

This is why we practice.

 


 

Share with light lovers who can relate xo

Tweet it out:

You will be called on to expand.

Click here to Pin the image to the right, or right click to download + share on Instagram.

Photo credit: Catherine Just

 

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