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.

The Little Moment that Turned Big – Part I

By Laura Lavigne

Some moments are huge, and they announce themselves right from the start.

The moment when we answer Yes (or No) to what seems like a big question. The moment we first hold our baby in our arms.

The moment our heart breaks and we’re not sure it will ever heal.

Other moments are just as big but they dance into our lives without any warning. We barely know they’re there until one day we turn around and BAM! Our terrain is completely altered yet it takes a little bit of looking back to find “it.” To find the moment.

The Happiness Sprinkling Project was not meant to be a Project, even less a Movement. It was meant to be a goofy hour of fun with a few friends.

In April of last year, someone posted a photo on my Facebook wall. It was an image of several people wearing bright orange clown-like outfits, and holding handmade Signs above their heads. The Signs said things like “You Rock” and “Go For It.” As soon as the photo showed up on my wall, people started commenting excitedly and it wasn’t long before I chimed in and asked “You guys want to do this?”

The answer was a resounding YES, and from the comfort of our own keyboards, across town and even a wee bit further, we organized what was to be an hour of us standing at a busy street corner in Anacortes, the following month, and “doing this.”

Still from Facebook, I asked: “What do you want your Sign to say? If you are going to stand on a street corner and broadcast a message, what do you want that message to say?” And within a couple of hours, I had a list. “You ARE a good parent.” “Everything is going to be okay.” “Sure, You Can.” “You Are Loved.” And more.

We were all pretty darn excited – you’d think none of us had jobs to pay attention to. This was happening so easily, I just knew we were going to have a great time.

Next, as I “designed” this one hour bit of fun in my head, I felt that to bring some visual balance to what was sure to be a wild group of Sign-holding peeps, we needed some consistency, something to tie us together. In the same way that I create a painting, I created the scene in my mind. And I saw that (1) the signs had to be super legible and all in the same font, and (2) we needed to be united by a color theme.

I called a friend who has a local printshop, presented my strange idea to him and asked him if he would print our Signs. Because he is who he is – and because this thing was ready to be born, he said YES.

Then I asked everyone to show up wearing bright yellow.

 

 

And that was that. A couple of weeks passed and on May 22 2012, we met at the corner of 12th and Commercial, at the very spot where people usually show up with heated political messages and we “sprinkled happiness.”

There was honking, there was waving, there was jumping up and down, and more than anything there was an extraordinary amount of JOY.

No agenda, no plan, just a bunch of people who together, had said YES to the moment.

Click here for Part II

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 Project, 90-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.

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.