Practice Joy; Change Your Life

Stop. Whatever you are doing right now, whatever is going on around you, just stop.

Take a second, right now, to concentrate on the feeling of happiness. Close your eyes briefly and feel the swelling in your chest. If it helps, you can start by thinking of your favorite person, or your favorite place on Earth or a really cool moment in your life. But as soon as you can, just concentrate on the feeling of being happy. You can even use your imagination to pretend to be really happy, and see how it feels exactly the same as the "real" thing.

Feel the tingling in your toes, feel the energy building in your bones, feel your heart soaring and a smile dancing around your lips. Go ahead and feel as happy as you can. Pull in light and love to your body and reach for the highest level of happiness you can find in your mind. Build yourself into a silly frenzy of joy, gratitude and love about absolutely nothing and absolutely everything.

Now. What does it mean that you can generate that feeling all by yourself? What are the implications in your life that this feeling is something you can conjure independently?

How many times do we buy things looking for that feeling? How many times do we "need" energy drinks, fast food meals, a new dress, all in our quest for that feeling? How often do we look for that feeling in alcohol, cigarettes, drugs or other addictions? How many times have we looked for it in television, hobbies or other diversions? How have our purchases of cars or houses ultimately been about that feeling?

Think bigger. How often have we made a pact with ourselves that once this happens, then I will be happy, but months later find ourselves still seeking? How much of our identity or status is wrapped up in trying to justify that feeling? How much time do we spend demanding our friends, family and partner deliver that feeling to us? How often are we disappointed that it doesn't come?

If this feeling is something we can generate by ourselves once, we have the ability to generate it again and often. If we can generate it a little bit, we can practice to generate it a lot. If we can generate it when we are in easier situations, such as a beautiful sunset or a loving moment, then we can practice until we can generate it anytime.



Do you realize how huge that is?

It's only a thought away.

So if we can drink from the well whenever we want, what is stopping us? Why do we feel the need to justify our happy feelings — put them in a box with a ribbon around it or hack someone else down to feel superior over them? Why do we spend all this time, energy and money seeking something that is as free and simple as breathing?

You can call it love or bliss, Christ or Nirvana. You can get there through thoughts, prayers or meditations. Whatever the shortest path for you is. All that's important is that you see how much more difficult and ultimately flawed it is to seek it in the external world. There is no need to find justification for your happiness. Just do it.

Practice joy. Be happy. You've already proven you can. There is nothing stopping you except you.

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Looking for a meaningful gift? Dark & Light: A Love Story in Black and White is a beautiful and insightful board book available here. All profits go towards my son's medical needs. 


  1. Wow. I'm bookmarking this to read again. I've had a rough couple of months and have been struggling to find real joy. I know only I can make me happy, and only God can heal my heart, but this has been a great reminder to just sit and BE HAPPY. Thanks Shasta!

  2. What a great post! You really put things into perspective and I can really relate to what you say here!

  3. I think I said it before, but you nail it right here, Shasta. We CAN practice joy. Love to you and yours!


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