Smile More for Joy - January 27, 2015
One evening with Charlie lying by my feet, I was folding laundry and began to think about the next article for Charlie’s Wisdom. Meaning and purpose instantly popped into my thoughts. Like many people, I often wonder about the meaning of life and my purpose.
As I folded shirts, sweatpants, and towels, I asked Charlie what the purpose of our life on earth is. To make money? To gain fame? To love? To do something important? And how does a person find meaning in their life?
It was no surprise to me that while I contemplated this complicated question, Charlie laid his head on my lap and enjoyed a good head rub. Charlie tends to be very insistent and persistent about physical affection. He loves hugs, constantly bumps my arm for a reassuring pat, and snuggles up to me at any opportunity.
It occurred to me that Charlie’s purpose on this planet is to teach about unconditional love and heartfelt connection. When I watch Charlie my heart fills with joy and, as a result, I am more open, relaxed, gracious, and energized. I get a similar sense of satisfaction when I think about or watch my children, see a beautiful sunset/sunrise, behold a clear starry night, have a quiet evening with my husband, or a gather with my friends. While I have always enjoyed many of these activities, thanks in part to Charlie's influence, I have become more aware of the feeling of joy associated with many things I do. And now I search for enjoyment in just about anything that comes my way. As a result, I have richer experiences and am presented with more opportunities.
The question becomes, what can be done to increase and/or strengthen joy in daily life? My suggestion is to find at least one thing in your life that sparks the feeling of joy in your heart. Notice how strong it is, how it lights up your entire essence, the resulting smile, and any sounds, smells, or physical sensations associated with that event. Once you have captured this feeling, then take a moment and look for it in whatever you are doing.
Charlie’s suggestions include:
• Smile more (Charlie always looks like he has a smile on his face – and it is infectious)
• Notice the good in your life and what is going right - small and big
• Reduce the shoulding on yourself (Snow Angels)
• Recognize the gratitude’s in your life
• Delight in something every day (Oh Boy! My Favorite!)
• Have time for meaningful conversations – put the cell phones, televisions, and computers away in favor of spending time with those you love
Today’s suggestions require daily practice to start to feel the walls around the heart soften. Write a note or copy, paste, and print this list to place in a prominent area to help remind you of your goal. Then give yourself at least six to eight weeks to develop the habit and notice a difference.
Understanding the meaning of life is very complex and something that is meditated upon by greater minds than my own. However, I do believe that a path to finding your personal meaning and purpose comes through deep and genuine connections which begin with listening to your own heart.
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