Moments – How to reclaim your JOY by Ali Davidson

Elephant-JoyWhat lights your fire and brings you joy?

Look at this guy, this big and intelligent creature.  Can you see anything beyond his pure joy, his obvious pleasure, his complete surrender to the moment?

Wow, that’s what I want to feel all the time.  But is that realistic?

I think it’s possible to feel real joy when we are looking at life through the eyes of a child.  Children live in the present moment.  Their emotions run through them faster than you can blink.  They hold on to no story. One minute they are laughing, playing and delighting in the adventure.  The next they are crying, sad because someone took the ball away.  But just as fast their curious minds find something new to focus on.  Something that will lead them once more to joy.

Children don’t live in the story of their lives.

They live in the experience of the moment.  And that is how we too can find our joy, no matter what is going on in our lives.  While I was losing my house, going bankrupt, and questioning my marriage, I would spend time with a baby who thinks of me as grandma.  I called him my JOYboy, because that’s  what I felt in his presence.

I watched him explore his world with bright-eyed curiosity and imagined how it would feel to look through new eyes at my surroundings.  I sensed his courage as he attempted to walk, falling over and over again, determined to make it across the room.  And I wondered what that would feel like, to want something so much just for the pleasure of it, that neither fear nor frustration could stop me.  I saw how he learned about his own capabilities staring at his articulating fingers while grasping a toy. And I realized there was a time when I too was learning about myself  and what I could do without judgement. I learned so much from this child who as yet had no words to describe his experience.  My time with him was contemplative and wondrous. Everything was new, alive, vital, and sweet in those moments with him and I appreciated the opportunity to put my thoughts, my worries, my pain, on hold while I reconnected to the simple pleasure of joy!

Joy is not necessarily a firecracker moment, filled with excitement and adrenaline.

It is an opening of the heart to the sweetness life offers us in the simplest of things.  It’s in your lover’s gentle words, your child’s warm embrace, your friends smiling eyes, and your dog’s loyal lick.  It’s in the dawn of a new day, the smell of an open fire, the song of the birds, and the spray of the ocean.  Really it’s everywhere if you would just suspend your story, step away from things you can not do anything about in this moment, and allow yourself to look, listen, and feel your connection to all that is.

Yes, there are times of great stress, great pain, great despair.

And all you may want to do is climb under the covers and never get out of bed again.  I know that feeling.  But I also know that to the degree that I allow those negative feelings, I have the same capacity to feel that degree of joy.  And I look for it.  I remember times when I have had it.  And sometimes I find that my joy is so great, I can’t help but weep at the magnitude of that feeling.

So don’t be afraid of the ‘bad’ times.  Let yourself feel all of it with abandon.

Knowing that you will feel joy with an even greater sense of wonder and delight, because you have the capacity for all of it.  And in those times that it’s hard to connect with joy, look for your own JOYboy.  You might find it in a child’s loving gaze, in the arms of your beloved, on the trail in the woods, in a song on the radio, or in the magnificent sunset that signals a time for rest.  It’s there.  It’s waiting for your attention, your focus, your acknowledgement.  It’s powerful and sweet.  Open and inviting.  It’s your true nature if you will allow it.  Just look at that picture of the elephant once more.  See his smile.  Feel his delight.  That’s right, you got it, that’s JOY.

As always, live easy and be kind to yourself

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Ali DavidsonAli Davidson has been referred to as a life transforming coach, author and dynamic presenter. As the CEO of Ali Davidson Life Academy, she draws from her extensive experience as a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistics Programming, Hypnotherapist, Coach and Counselor to integrate strategies that guide her clients to live an extraordinary life both personally and professionally.

Ali’s work with individuals, couples, families, and business owners, has empowered them to embrace their greatness and live full out. Ali is an entertaining and engaging speaker and inspires people to connect to their full potential.

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Reposted from Ali Davidson Life Academy with permission by Ali Davidson. Ali is also a founding member of Chicks Connect, and current member of our Spring Chicks chapter in Eugene, Oregon.

Moments: Walk in the Park by Debi Douglass

Letter to my Son ~ November 10, 2014

“I thought I would take you for a walk through Jasper Park with Jade and I.

I hope that I can make it nice and as real as words can make it for you:

I always, even when the park is open (and it is closed now) drive to the outside parking lot. It is kind of

my way of enjoying every step of the way. From leashing up Jade, locking the car and beginning to be

pulled by Jadester.

The walk in is awesome as it is gross at first with mud and a locked gate, but the path gets you to the

paved road and it begins the beautiful enjoyable walk into my favorite place on earth. You see the pond

to the right and the drainage culvert to the left. And, if you look up, the tress are so high and the leaves,

if there is a breeze, gently blow them, all independently and with a soothing noise of gentle rustling.

But it is the sight of them that pleases as they spin and some reflect the light while others you see the

bold yellow and browns. And, they are beautiful giants to welcome you into paradise.

There is a dog park now. Fenced and secure so I can let Jade off the leash to run, with a smile on her

face. Oops… she halts and takes a poop… and off she goes again. And after only a few laps

around she is ready to walk the park and is waiting for me at the gate.

I leash her up and prepare to resist being pulled at 30 mph. She takes off and before long we come to

the river. I have seen the river up over the banks into the park, and the bank is at least 6 ft high. In the

summer Jade likes to lay in the water, biting at it and playing in it. I don’t venture down the bank now

because it is muddy, I don’t want a wet dog and for fear I will slip and end up muddy too. I love

looking at the river. It is wide, fast and beautiful, while a bit scary too. The path we walk in the park

borders the river for about 1⁄4 mile and at times is breathtaking. I love the beaver damn, the swimming

hole and the fallen tree trunk that has been there forever.

Looking straight ahead there is this tree that is majestic, I think it is a maple, and the base is a massive

root ball with moss all over it. And, we walk the bark-a-mulched path to a place I once thought would

be where I married Jack, beneath these ancient cedar trees. There are picnic table and swings. It feels

cool from the heaviness of the size and branches of the trees. And of course, the river with a small

bank.

Path Through the Woods

Walk through the Cedar trees to a path that leads down a small hill and has leaves that crunch, or are

slippery under your feet, depending on the weather. To the right is a boulder that is big and has moss

all over it. And as you walk slowly up the path there is a tree that is a young cedar, ferns growing in the

strangest places, and so many colors of green it is amazing! Occasionally a mushroom is here or there.

The path winds and at times you see that a path will take off and lead down to the river. You walk

through spider webs and wipe them off your forehead hoping that the spider that made that web is not

riding piggy back on you.

Then there is a tree that arches and it looks so interesting. An upside down U. It has been there for

many years. You take off to a path that goes right and then there are many spider webs as you continue.

You turn slightly to the left and there you walk into a clearing which is also a baseball field. The trees

surround the field and there are horseshoe pits as you come to the end of the field.

Turning to the left you follow another unpaved road to the paved road, Here is where there are lots of

squirrels and Jade is quite interested in them.

When you reach the paved road you walk along it and a fenced pasture. Once, years ago, there were

cows at pasture in there. I am not a singer but I was singing that day. Singing a song I had learned and I

knew no one would hear me, because no one is ever at the park in the winter. I was walking along

singing when I got to this pasture and looked up. All the cows were lined up at the fence looking and

listening. They were my audience and they liked my singing! (I sing pretty badly too)

There are leaves crunching under your feet. Even Jade is enjoying the noise of the leaves that have

piled up in the road. You can see all the trees in the park, some of them are red, some brown, some

yellow, some large, some small. The colors are so unbelievable and brilliant. The beauty is

overwhelming and I feel my soul, the beauty in me is represented in the beauty I see in the colors and

textures and noises.

Fall Leaves

God made all of it!

Watching the side of the road I will see mushrooms poking out from the leaves.

Mushrooms Along the Path

And more mushrooms…

Mushrooms

Jade watches for birds and sniffs in holes and stops when she hears a noise. Mostly small birds in the

bushes. And, again we are back to the really tall trees as we begin the walk out of the park:

Tall Trees

And again, I say thanks for the legs to walk, the eyes to see and the love I have in my heart!

Thank you for always being in my heart….”

Debi & Jade

Debi Douglass is an amazing, compassionate woman whose friendship adds massive value to my life.  About Debi ~ “I am a mother of two, have lived in Oregon for 39 years and I am a Realtor. I have been a licensed Realtor since 1995.  I love Oregon and I love dogs, so I walk a lot and there is nowhere that is more beautiful than Lane County Parks. I first visited Jasper Park 38 years ago. Strangely, I had no idea then that Jasper Park would become my favorite place, and I would visit it again and again. I take people I love there. I have been there in flood, snow, rain and sunshine. I have walked 3 dogs there that I have owned. I now have Jade, a Siberian Husky. She is 3 1/2 years old and loves to walk.  In my business as a Realtor, I donate to animal advocacy groups and local and national animal shelters. Every house I sell, I send a check to an organization. My favorite is the Greenhill Humane Society.   There are other favorites: Fences for Fido build fences for animals that are chained. Pongo Fund provided food for those that are struggling to afford food for their beloved pets. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn  for more information about my Real Estate career.”

 

The Little Moment that Turned Big – Part II

By Laura Lavigne

Following our over the top, bubbly hour of what had by then been coined a “Happiness Sprinkling,” the twenty Signs found a spot in my garage. Where I thought they would stay.

The summer passed and I did not give the whole thing another thought. It had been good, we had some great photos and really, that was enough.

Or so I thought.

In September, a friend invited me to join her in Seattle to celebrate “Parking Day,” and at the last minute, I decided to grab a few of our Signs to decorate our parking spot. The day was fun and as we were wrapping up, I asked if anyone wanted to join me and wave the Signs, on the street corner. It was 5 pm on a Friday in Ballard, and I thought we would have a ready-made audience, maybe light a few people up.
And boy, we did.

Passersby joined in, asked to hold the Signs, asked to be photographed with them (a tender looking couple asked to be photographed holding the “Be You” “You Are Loved” and “Everything is Going to be Okay” Signs. They later explained that they had just dropped off their daughter to college for the first time and were going to send her the photo).

Happiness Sprinkling in Ballard, Seattle, WA. from anacortes happiness on Vimeo.

A woman picked up the “It’s Going to be All Right” Sign and when I turned to look at her, she was holding it straight up in front of her … with a tear running down her face.

It was surprising, touching and a little odd.

The next day, I woke up knowing this needed to grow and I sure wasn’t going to stand in its way.

A year later, here we are. More than 50 events have taken place in over 40 cities across the US and into Canada, the sets of Signs being passed on from one “Happiness Ambassador” to the next, like a never ending chain of awesomeness. We have “Sprinkled” in posh Sherman Oak, CA and in L.A.’s Skid Row. In the snow and under the sun… from wheelchairs and from baby carriers.

And every time, it is the same high, the same burst of deep, deep joy. Who “gives” and who “receives” is unclear. People meet, people hug, people laugh and people cry. Miracles happen.

All this because of a moment. A very quiet moment. Of saying YES.

Click here for Part I

Moments Contributor – Laura Lavigne is a life coach, author and tribe builder. She is the director of the Anacortes Center for Happiness, creator of the Happiness Sprinkling Project90-Day Gratitude Challenge and Anacortes Happy Hour. She lives on Fidalgo Island and you can visit her at LauraLavigne.com, and view her talk “Go For Joy” – Laura Lavigne at TEDx.