Happy New Year!
It’s officially 2016!
And I’m meeting this day with arms wide open.
“Bring it on!” my heart shouts to the Universe, and I mean it.
I’m done with hoping, fingers crossed, for only the good things in life
I’m finished praying for a year without difficulty or pain.
Because here’s the thing:
Difficulties are an important part of the package.
We came to planet Earth for the full experience of LIVING and that includes sadness and sorrow.
We actually need the bad times more than we care to admit.
Because we can’t understand love without knowing, firsthand, the opposite feeling of rejection and hurt. We can’t appreciate joy (or even recognize what it is) without feeling the terrible crush of disappointment.
We need the contrast to grow, turtledove!
Without hardship, there would be no victories, no wins. Without trail and error, no inspiration, no deeper understanding, no stunning solutions that make the world a better place.
I know this and yet . . .
Part of me secretly, desperately, wants this year to be problem-free.
The actual truth is, it won’t be.
Somewhere, tucked into the next 364 remaining days, there will be loss, heartbreak and tears.
And if we’re willing to open ourselves up to these moments, I can assure you, there will also be an abundance of JOY.
We don’t need the circumstances of our lives to be all glittery and good in order to be HAPPY.
When life serves up a steaming plate of shit, we still have options.
We can wallow in misery and suffering . . .
We can turn all that crap into fertilizer.
Gardeners do this you know, and they grow some really beautiful flowers.
I’m not trying to be clever here.
When we stop resisting the things we really don’t want in our life and make room for the discomfort, we open ourselves up to a high level of peace.
A Course in Miracle calls this Heaven.
And heaven, it seems, is a daily (often minute-by-minute) decision.
I’m speaking from personal experience.
Last year, I announced that my theme for 2015 was JOY.
No matter what.
At the time that I wrote this, I was slathered with Vics and wrapped up in blankets.
(December is flu season here in Alberta, and I was bitten by a cute, nasty flu-bug.)
Within hours, I felt like I had come down with some kind of plague.
Even with rest, the sickness lasted for weeks.
Still . . . I was compelled to write about joy.
Because I’ve been practicing “loving what is” for a couple of years now, and I know for certain that we can feel happiness—even when we’re shaking with fever and chills.
I know that joy is a choice and that we don’t need the world to be a certain way in order to feel it.
We don’t need to be healthy.
We don’t need to be in love.
We don’t need to be a size two.
Joy is available to us any time, day and night.
All we have to do is open our hearts to it.
This can be excruciatingly hard at times (trust me, I fail at this A LOT) but with practice, it becomes so much easier.
By adding the word AND.
You can be sick AND feel well-being
You can be in the middle of a recession AND feel happiness and abundance
You can be overweight AND feel attractive and sexy
You can be going through a sad divorce AND still feel love and happiness
You may not want to kick up your heels and laugh out loud . . . but at the same time, you could.
How do I know?
I’ve experienced all of the situations listed above and every single time, joy was my guide out of the darkness.
But let me be clear.
I’m NOT suggesting that you plaster a fake smile on your face to cover up feelings of pain.
I’m not saying we should only feel joy.
It’s important to honour anger and sadness and all the glorious feelings that make us human.
But please don't get stuck there.
And if you do?
Start climbing up the emotional scale to a better feeling place.
(I do this by focusing on something I appreciate).
Gratitude is the ladder out of the pit of despair.
It really, truly, can be AND.
The more we allow joy and appreciation into our lives under ANY condition, the more meaning will grow out of all of the dirt and manure.
And guess what the bonus will be.
Which is why 2016 is going to be a very good year.
No matter what.
Sending you so much love,