Saturday, February 19, 2011

Joy To The World

Last year I read this book called The Joy of Appreciative Living , by Jacqueline Kelm, and it really changed my way of thinking about life in general. I just happened to stumble across it at the library, which is one of my favorite ways to find books. I walk up and down the aisles and certain books just beckon to me to pick them up. Sometimes they end up being eerily relevant. I call it serendipity.

The sub-heading of this particular book is Your 28-Day Plan to Greater Happiness in 3 Incredibly Easy Steps. I got myself a notebook and set about to follow the plan. Here's a simplified summary of the steps:

  1. Each day, list 3 things you're grateful for. First thing in the morning is the ideal time to do this; it's a nice way to start your day off right.
  2. After making your list, answer this question daily: What can I do today to increase my joy?  This is not a trick question. The answer can be anything at all. 
  3. Once a week, do a visualization exercise. Spend about 20 minutes writing down a detailed description of your ideal, joy-filled life. 
I felt a difference in my attitude and my happiness level within days of starting the exercises. I finished the 28 days and felt like a new person. I felt like I finally understood something that had been eluding me my whole life. Life is meant to be joyful. Life can be joyful. But I am the deciding factor - no external force is going to come down from the heavens and bestow upon me happiness and joy. It's available, but I have to do something to get it. I have to be appreciative, even if my life is not exactly what I want it to be at this moment. I have to believe I can create my own happiness. I have to envision the life I want and believe that I can have it.

After the 28 days were up, I kept up the daily gratitude lists for awhile. I did an occasional visualization. But I haven't done any of it in awhile. Although I still feel the lasting impact of the book's message, I'm going to start it up again, at least for another 4 weeks. It really is easy, and I think it'll be beneficial to me to do this every now and again, as a reminder that joyfulness is there for the taking.

I highly recommend The Joy of Appreciative Living. It might just help make your world a brighter place. (Please don't gag. I'm serious.)

Bethany and I went for a run/walk together this afternoon. I love her energy, but spazz-ma-tazz is not exactly what I'm looking for when I'm working out. I like peace and serenity. Nonetheless, I'm glad she volunteered to go with me. Too bad tomorrow we're back to winter weather. I don't know if I can be dedicated enough to run outside in the cold. But I really have to do something since certain friends of mine have been heartlessly trying to fatten me up by enticing me with irresistible chocolates.  I have a bridesmaid dress to fit into in a few months. 

I caught Mathilda cleaning the toilet bowl with her toothbrush tonight. That's my girl, always up to no good. 

Just as I was getting the kids into bed, our power went out. My kids are all afraid of the dark and two of them can't get to sleep without a movie (don't judge me too harshly, it'll come back to bite you).  Bethany miraculously found a lantern and everyone piled into Lucy and Mathilda's room. It became clear that Mathilda was not going to be thrilled to see me leave the room, so I laid down on the floor with Connor. Ouch. Mathilda was not going to be stuck in the crib when mommy was right there, so I got her out and held her while lying on the floor. Double ouch. Thank you Jesus for bringing our power back on and saving me from untold misery. I owe you one.

Bethany is trying to start a band. She's recruited a few friends. None of them play anything. They haven't had a practice yet. They do have a dressing room (Bethany's closet has had an Extreme Makeover) and lots of super cute rocker outfits. Even so, I'm not quite sure they're ready to start booking gigs, although Bethany was already busy composing letters to area venues. She is a girl with a plan, always has been, and I hope she always will be.

1 comment:

Tracy Balderach said...

All of your children sound adorable and uniquely special in their own way! What blessings!!!