I take the concept of transformation-travel loosely. Any way you move through your day, be it literal movement from one place to another, or travel from one moment to another with awareness, it can change your perception and change you as a person. Done with intent, the change is more noticeable. Since listening a month ago to a TED radio hour program about where joy hides in our brain, I’ve been on a little journey of finding joy during the holiday season. I’ve long ago left the experience of finding joy in a church with bells ringing, voices resounding in an arched cupola with my eyes on a colorful stained glass window. At my age I’m no longer a candidate for holiday cocktail parties with a sleek sequined shiny dress finding joy in a glass in my hand. Instead, I’ve been paying attention and recording shapes, colors, abundance, sounds, and movements that produce a jump for joy inside me. Joy differs from happiness, is momentary, and relates to a feeling of aliveness. Happiness is more enduring. It rises out of the ability to do something, to have or engage in a relationship. It often signals potential, a promise for the future. A whole bunch of joyful moments strung together produce happiness.
This is what I’ve learned as I went around finding joy:
The holidays full of sparkles, lights, glitter and round balls on the tree are a sampling of ways we can find joy if we are open to it. Not only do the sparkles and lights offset the darkness of winter, they are a sample of how we can keep a feeling of joyful aliveness if we look for it, even after the holidays. Donald Hebb, a psychologist once said, “Neurons that fire together wire together.” This means that the more you find and experience joy, the more your synapses thicken and “remember” the positive moment.
You can change your brain AND your experience of living by seeking joyful moments. Go find the surprises of light and abundance in nature, move your body and feel the joy of the movement, sit in quiet contemplation to empty your mind and let joy arise, look at the shape of the moon, surrounded by thousands of sparkling stars in the night sky, surround yourself with brilliant flowers, let your hands curve around a face you love, wrap an arm around a shoulder of a friend. Find your aliveness and share your joy.
To listen to the TED Radio hour on Joy go here: https://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/668359164/where-joy-hides
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