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How to Find Joy

How can I achieve joy? How can I get to a place in my life where the way I spend my time, who I spend my energy on and with, and how I move through the world continually brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart? This is one of the biggest questions humans ask, and one that most of us ponder at some point in our lives.

If you’re interested in experiencing joy, show up at the right place at the right time. Figure out what your passion is, and then invest time and energy into honoring that passion. Listen, discern, clarify your vision, check the time, and then act.

Think back to the time in your life when you experienced the most joy. Who was around you?What were you doing? What was your day-to-day schedule like? What was it that was causing you joy? Do you feel a sense of nostalgia and longing to go back to this time? As you bring attention to your past, do you sense that you want to go back into it?

We use reflection not as a way to get stuck in our past, nor to long for our previous experiences, but rather to become aware of patterns; to allow ourselves the time to discern and discover what fills us up. Instead of getting stuck in our past, like so many of us do, what we really want is to develop techniques to mediate between the past and the future so that we can live in the present.

So, now that we’ve reflected on our past, we can start to think about our future. The future holds our dreams, realized. It is the realm where the cookies we’ve been dreaming about baking exist in tangible form. In the past we had our dream, in the present we make the cookies, and in the future, they will be ready for us to eat. In order to prepare ourselves for the future that we want, we have to start by doing everything that we need to do to get us there. And in order to know what we’ll need to do, we need a map.

Sometimes, a map will be provided. Other times, we will have to do our own research to be able to produce our own map. There are so many people who have gone before us, so whenever we can use one of their maps, we can save some time. But it’s important that we study each map carefully, and before starting down the road, figure out if there’s anything that we need to modify on the map to fit our circumstances.

Once we have our map figured out, we are well on our linear journey through space. So then, we need to check the time. When we think about checking the time, we are talking about many different aspects of time. We should check the time on our clock and cross-reference it with the plans on our calendar. We should also think about what season of life we’re in and what season it is outside. It will be much easier to embody certain visions at certain times of our lives.

And then, in order to manipulate our future so that it holds what we want it to, we must realize that we are not only moving through space, but we are also moving in time.

Imagine a clock face around you. In front of you is 12 o’clock, to the right of you is 3 o’clock, behind you is 6 o’clock, and to the left of you is 9 o’clock. When you drive in your car, it’s important to look where you’re going. And even though you’re looking straight ahead towards 12 o'clock, you can’t just keep going straight forever. If you never turn, you will eventually hit a wall, a tree, a person, another car. So while it’s important to see what’s in front of you, knowing that and being aware of that will only get you so far.

The trick is to always have your destination in mind. And we think of the destination as 2 o’clock because we’re moving in time! If our future is in front of us, our past is behind us, and the clock is ticking clockwise (or to the right), as we move forward, linearly, time spins us slightly to the right. And that’s why we want to always turn our hearts to 2 o’clock. If you turn your heart to 2 o’clock, you will be spinning with the spin of time, with the universe, and you will not only be able to see where you’re going, but you'll also be setting yourself up to get there. And this is how we make our dreams a reality. This is how we are eventually able to embody our vision and find joy.

So turn your heart to 2 o’clock. Know that your past has gotten you to where you are, and that that is a beautiful thing. And then use your refined orientation to do everything you need to do in order to arrive at your destination.

*This reflection was inspired by Nevine Michaan and Katonah Yoga®

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