Following Joy

Divine Within

Don’t you feel like maybe it’s about time? I certainly do.  As I approach my fourth decade of life (what?!) I am no longer content with running “the race,” following the herd, or living unintentionally. I feel a strong desire to foster stillness within, move in the direction that brings me joy and make choices that are aligned with my deepest intentions.

Sounds good, right? Well, it wasn’t always that way. For a long time, I had a lot of inner clutter. My mind was full of conditioned beliefs, worries, doubts, what ifs — just to name a few. I didn’t know what it felt like to take action aligned with my intentions. Forget about actions, I wasn’t even clear on my intentions.

When our inner dialogue is too loud, it drowns out our inner wisdom. When the internal landscape is too chaotic, there is simply no space for awareness and inspired action. Over the years, I have been committed to cultivating inner space through meditation and mindfulness practice. It has often times been an arduous yet rewarding journey. A journey that I would not change one bit no matter how difficult the path has been at times.

When we operate from an internal place of relative stillness and centeredness, we can begin to see clearly and move in the direction of our deepest desires. Many of us contemplate our purpose- especially as we enter midlife. How can we fully express who we are? How can we make a difference and live an authentic life?  

As I practice mindfulness and continue to cultivate inner quiet, I am beginning to realize that we don’t have to search for our purpose. The key is to follow our joy. It is so crucial to pay attention and then move in the direction that feels aligned. With practice and pure interest, we can learn to attune to our bodies. Our body is always speaking to us if we can learn to quiet the mind’s chatter and drop into our body sensations. How does it feel when we are aligned, full of joy, full of passion? For me, my body feels expansive, present, effortless. How does it feel when we are misaligned or in fear? For me, my body feels constricted, tight, uneasy.

We can always check with our body and follow its signals. It sounds easy and yes it is once we get past all of our mind’s chatter which is often times filled with doubt and fear. This takes practices but becomes clearer and clearer as we intentionally pay attention to our present moment experience. Once we are tuned in, we need trust and follow our joy.

Take inventory right now of the different areas of your life.  What brings you joy? What confines you? Can you commit to following what lights you up?

We don’t even need to make big changes.

Start small but just start.

Life doesn’t wait around for us.

The time is now.

Find what lights you up and go in that direction. The answers we are seeking are right in front of us, we just need to learn how to pay attention.

Follow the people that lift us up, the job that inspires, the food that nurtures our body, the thoughts that are supportive, the hobbies that bring joy and be unabashed in the pursuit to live in full alignment.  

Yes, it is hard but I know what is even harder- living a bound life.  Along the way to joy, we will let go of what no longer serves us.

This letting go can be uncomfortable and downright painful at times. Letting go of all the things that are holding us back — perhaps a belief system, a relationship, a job, a vision of how we thought it would be. The more we follow our joy, the more joy we will attract. Take action — one small step in the direction of joy every day — at your own pace and consciously acknowledge your efforts along the way. We need to become exactly what we want to attract and our purpose will reveal itself. It is right in front of us if we can remove all of our blinders and see clearly.

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Mindfulness is a limitless tool for self-discovery. It is an experiential process, meaning that you cannot just read about mindfulness to understand the process and receive its benefits. You actually have to practice and develop the skill to be present.


-- Amanda Votto

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