Choose Joy. I think I read this somewhere in the past couple of days. Its stuck in my brain and when I woke up this morning its what I thought of.
This seems simple. But many of us do not think of Joy as a choice. We think of it as something others bring to us, something things or experiences provide. It takes the right things, the right situation, the right formula to experience pure joy. It is true that certain things or people or experiences give us joy, and often joy without the expectation of it, which is a wonderful feeling.
But like anything worthwhile in life, I think that often you have to work at joy. There are many forces working against our ability to be joyful. We live in a world of instant gratification, of impossible standards and which values things and more things. This world expects joy from thrilling experiences, lavish living and a life of pure ease. These ideas are a huge disservice to our happiness. Because life is simply not like that. Sure, there are moments of great excitement and thrill, but mostly it is just the daily rhythm of a life that is not always purely gratifying.
And so we could have this sort of mantra of "choose joy." You are not a helpless bystander of your own happiness. You are in control of it. Every day you can choose joy. Choose to be happy, to be thankful, to see the good and to be grateful for all the wonderful things the world has to offer. Some days will be much easier than others. Sometimes joy just cant help but find you, and others you will really have to work at it. But for most of those I know, we have a lot to be joyful about.
Joy means doing the things you love, however small. It means stopping to notice something beautiful around you. Finding happiness in something as small as a coffee or a song. It means knowing you are joyful because you have people in your life who love you. And in the most basic ways, and on the hardest days it means finding joy in the mere fact that you are alive and have a roof over your head, you are free of suffering and hunger.
So choose joy. Isn't it more fun anyway?