My favorite saying is “Choose Joy and Follow Bliss”. To me, at this point in my life, this seems so simple. It’s a conscious choice! I’m pretty sure that as recent as 2 years ago, I would have thought this was a load of crap and would have had no idea where to start that process. Joy has been on my mind this week. I went to a fitness class the other day where the instructor was directing us to “go to our happy place” to avoid the pain that we were feeling in the current exercise. I was sitting there trying to ponder where I should escape to, when it hit me; I no longer escape, because my happy place is within me. I am centered in my inner Joy! This was shortly followed by the second thought of, holy crap, for 20 years I escaped to my happy place almost every moment of every day. I did it to avoid dealing with my life and the deep seated unhappiness I felt. I wish I could blame this on anyone other than myself, but the truth is, if I would have been seeking my Joy from the inside all along, I could have saved myself a ton of pain. I wouldn’t have been seeking outside of me for things that were here within me all along. I know I’m not alone in this form of suffering. I was recently learning about joy from Brene Brown in “The Power of Vulnerability” She says, “When we loose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding. Joy is probably the most vulnerable feeling that we experience.” We are afraid to feel joy because we are afraid that something awful will come and take it away in the next moment. So instead of allowing this, we shut down. We as a species have forgotten that joy is our birth right and one of our natural ways of being. We came here to the planet of emotion, and yet, most of the time we tend to focus on the heavy, not so joyful emotions. What about wonder, bliss, joy, happiness, ect….. It can be a challenge to remember this inner joy and even harder to experience it. The key is to start connecting with it on any level. Perhaps bringing your awareness to those simple things in everyday life that bring in this felt sense. Think of a child laughing, cat purring, sun light lazily filtering through a window. Connect with that feeling and allow it to radiate through your entire being. Inhale in the quality of joy, and on your exhale, rest in this quality. Feel it permeate your entire being. Be so centered in your own joy this season, that it radiates out into the rest of the world. Be that big bright glowing presence in your life, and in the lives of those around. A contagious joy that spreads from heart to heart. Give yourself permission, and know beyond a reasonable doubt that you are worthy of joy. Not just worthy, it is your birth right!