“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. “–Thich Nhat Hanh

The photo of this little boy hugging this puppy is my instant mood lifter, stress reliever, favorite distraction and reminds me to invoke joy in my life, just like I need that cup of java to get me started in the morning.

Joy is always at hand each and every day. We may be consumed with worries and responsibilities, but we can always make time for a joyful or playful moment.

There is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness comes from an event–the little boy hugging his dog makes him happy. Joy is the deeper, more lasting form of happiness.

Joy is finding a place in your spirit that is unafraid, serene, being able to embrace all of life’s experiences as meaningful, purposeful, leading to a richer experience of life on a daily basis.

With a joyful spirit we can embrace the good and the bad. We realize they are intertwined and one doesn’t exist without the other.

To be joyful takes mindfulness and practice. How do we find joy when we’re running late, stuck in traffic, the boss is angry and there’s a deadline looming. Breathe, smile, maybe even laugh.

I look back on my life and I see so many moments stuck in traffic or a cubicle or stuck in a long line in a grocery store.

On most of those “stuck” moments I was unhappy or angry or both. Had I been mindful, I wouldn’t have wasted them on negativity.

For better or for worse they are part of the tapestry of my life. The little and big moments all woven together that make me who I am and where I am today.

Today I am mindful to take all those moments with a joyful spirit and set my heart free.


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