Excerpted with permission of the publisher, Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint. Divine Intuition: Your Inner Guide to Purpose, Peace, and Prosperity, by Lynn A. Robinson Copyright © 2013
Those who enjoy the greatest happiness are not necessarily the wealthiest or the most famous. Those who sparkle with joy are most often ordinary people who have not lost their sense of wonder. They find a gift in each moment of living. They enjoy a few moments of pleasantries with their neighbor, marvel at the dew glistening on a flower petal, and take delight in a child’s giggles. They find a gift in each moment of their life.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions most of us have is that something has to change in order for us to be happy. Don’t get me wrong. I find it much easier to be happy when I have enough money, good health, great friends, and meaningful work.
It’s truly a paradox of life that when you’re happy, you begin to draw to yourself what you need in order to be happy. Joy is that extraordinary happiness that is independent of what is going on in our lives. You might think that more money and more material possessions make you happier. You’d be wrong. Researchers have discovered that once our basic needs are met, our happiness and quality of life depend most significantly on the quality of our personal relationships: with ourselves, our partner, family, friends, and community.
The root of joy is gratefulness. You might notice that truly joyful people are grateful. I have noticed and believe that their joy springs from gratefulness, not from their life circumstances. A person who has all the good luck in the world but takes it for granted doesn’t gain much joy from that good fortune. Ultimately we hold the key to a joy-filled and happy life within ourselves. It’s a heart focused on gratitude that makes us joyful.
Who comes to your mind when you think of someone in your life who is happy or content? Usually they are very ordinary people. My mother-in-law leaps to mind when I think of someone who’s happy. She’s a living example of choosing happiness. In fact, her nickname is “Rosie” because of her wonderful disposition. Let me share something about her with you.
The first is that Mom is more than ninety years old and in failing health. She lives alone. Years ago, her husband, Bud, was in a car accident, leaving her a widow at age forty-six with three teenagers. She left the family home about forty years ago and now lives in a studio apartment. She broke a leg a couple of years ago and has difficulty walking. She has macular degeneration, causing her to rapidly lose her eyesight so she’s had to give up driving her beloved old Chevy and has to rely on others for transportation. She lives on a small amount of social security income. These facts of her life make it sound as if she’s a candidate for depression.
Now listen to a recent conversation I had with her:
“Oh, I am so glad to be alive! Isn’t it a great day? I just love sitting outside on the lawn and listening to the birds sing. I just sit there and think of all the things I’m grateful for. I think about it every day when I get up and before I go to bed. I pray every day for those people who don’t have as much as I do. I have all my kids and grandkids and great-grandkids living around me, and I feel so filled up with gratitude. I’ve lived a long time, and God may take me at any time, but I’m just going to appreciate every moment I have left.”
My mother-in-law is someone who clearly chooses happiness, and happiness has clearly chosen her. She focuses on all that she has to be grateful for and attracts more of its richness into her life.
So who comes to your mind when you think of someone who’s happy? It’s probably not the wealthiest person you know or the most famous. Those who sparkle are ordinary people like you and me. Like my mother-in-law, they have not lost their wonder of the moment. They cherish the call from a friend. They delight at hearing a child laugh. They have moments in each day when they stop and take a deep breath and simply appreciate the moment. They listen to the breeze blowing through the trees, observe a bird flying, listen to their cat purr. They find a gift in each moment of living.
Interactive Strategy: Keep a Joy Journal
Here are some ideas to get your journal started:
- Think over the past year. What brought you the most joy?
- What are some activities you enjoy by yourself or with others?
- When you’re sad or depressed, what activities or thoughts make you feel better?
- What steps are you willing to take in order to bring these activities into your life on a regular basis?
What you love to do, what you feel joyful and passionate about, is a sign from your higher self of what you’re meant to do. The poet Rumi wrote, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Lynn A. Robinson is a leading expert and best-selling author on the topic of intuition. She is also a professional speaker and intuitive consultant who teaches individuals and businesses how to use their untapped intuitive abilities to change their lives and grow their companies. She uses her own highly developed intuition to provide powerful, transformative insights for her clients. She has written seven books on intuition that have been published in more than a dozen languages. Her latest books are Divine Intuition: Your Inner Guide to Purpose, Peace and Prosperity and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Psychic Intuition, 3rd Edition. Her popular Intuition Newsletter has become a must-read for thousands.
Be sure to check out the entire blog tour! Tomorrow the tour continues on Gail McMeekin’s Creative Success blog. (http://creativesuccess.com/blog/) Yesterday’s post can be found on Allison Rimm’s blog. (http://allisonrimm.com/blog)
For more information about the whole tour, visit Lynn A. Robinson’s Gut Truster’s Blog. (http://lynnrobinson.com/gut-trusters-blog/divine-intuition-blog-tour)