Let Joy Be Your North Star
Throughout the ages travelers by land and sailors by sea have used the North Star to find their way. You have a North Star of your own. Your North Star is joy.
When you go toward joy, you can be confident that you are headed in the right direction. Joy leads you to what you love, what gives you deep satisfaction, what’s aligned with your soul’s purpose.
I am not only talking about such large questions as life purpose, though doing what you love is surely the best way to insure that you’ll enjoy your work. You can also let joy guide you in the many small decisions you make throughout your day.
Will you notice the beauty around you and linger a moment to appreciate it more deeply? Will you say that kind word to another? Will you actively challenge your inner critic whenever it raises its ugly head and focus instead on thoughts that affirm you? All of these are the tiny course corrections you can make that will suffuse your day with joy.
Notice, please, that I am not talking about pleasure. While joy gives you pleasure, pleasure does not necessarily bring you joy. Joy never turns into regret the next day.
Research has shown that the pleasure of buying something new fades after a couple of weeks as we become accustomed to our new possession. The pleasure of activities that harm our bodies – over eating, drinking too much too often, abusing substances that provide a momentary high at the cost of our long term health – ultimately leave us feeling worse than before.
True joy often benefits those around you as well as yourself. Kindness and generosity are dependable sources of true joy. Research has shown that people experience happiness for days, even weeks, after extending kindness to others, while the happiness that comes from having fun quickly fades away.
Walking a path of joy does not necessarily mean that you are going to trip lightly up the hill with sweet music playing in the background. Joy can entail hard work to make your vision a reality. Joy can even entail struggle, as you deal with the resistances that emerge. But joy is an atmosphere you create when what you are doing has heart and meaning.
Let yourself be guided by the North Star of joy, and yours will be a path of joy.
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