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How to Let Go and Live a Life of More Joy



Claim Your Essential Nature to Open to Joy


Time and space fall away when we leverage our strengths to engage in activities we are passionate about. Search your life for a time when you entered a state of flow in which you could work continuously with ease and smooth progress. What were you doing?


Perhaps you can’t think of a time. There is nothing wrong with you if you have yet to access a state of flow, oblivious to the progress of time and the world moving around you. It could just mean that you are living the dream and expectations laid heavy on your shoulders by others.


John knew he had an artistic eye and a strength for combining colors in tantalizing color palettes. As a child and teen, he spent hours engrossed in books on architecture, landscaping, art, graphic design, fashion, urban planning, and engineering design. A profession in the discipline of design would have enabled him to live true to his essential nature. 


Instead, he broke under the pressure of his parents to study medicine and became a doctor instead. Every day at work he feels constant resistance. Living in disharmony with his nature caused him to suffer in disharmony and stress until the day he woke up desperate. He couldn’t live his life in pain any longer.


John decided to soothe his soul by getting up before dawn each day to submerse himself in the study and appreciation of design. One day a flash of insight lit him up with joy as he entered the hospital with its dull white and grey colors. 


Six years later John opened the doors to the first preventative medicine office located in the inner urban landscape of his city. John had designed the building and community gardens himself at a low cost, which would offer daily wellness classes and wellness day retreats for low-income residents in the community. His dream was to spread the wellness boxes across the country.


It will be difficult for you to open up to daily joy if you are living a life contrary to your essential nature. It’s never too late. You don’t need to shift your career or follow grand projects or dreams to change your life. 


John opened up to joy the day he admitted his passion for design and started studying again. He lived in a state of ease and uplift once he found a way to leverage his passion and strength for design to meet a challenge.


What are your strengths? What are your passions? How can you fuse the two and find time daily to use the fusion in a state of flow for at least ten minutes?


Set the Vision but LIVE for the Process to Elicit Joy


Have you experienced a time in your life where you just gritted your teeth and committed to suffering through to reach the goal you set? Perhaps it was passing a test, completing a degree, preparing to move, or toilet training your child. You knew you would be relieved and happy once you achieved success. You were resigned to the misery necessary to get you to the finish line.


You’ve heard it before. Living for the future won’t make you happy. It’s living in the present that opens you up to a life of joy. 


The answer is to turn your attention to your end goal and break it down into minuscule finish lines to cross each month, week, day, and hour. Write down what you intend to accomplish for each hour, day, week, and month’s worth of effort. 


Focus your attention as close to the present moment as possible. What can you do every day for a realistic space of time to make progress? Reward yourself after you finish each mini-race. 


Even just saying to yourself, “Yes, I did it, one hour of studying, writing, building, etc, completed, and throwing your arms up in the air in triumph will flood your brain with dopamine. The rush of feel-good chemicals will elevate your mood and inspire you in your work.


At the end of the day review what you accomplished. Satisfaction in your daily progress will infuse your life with satisfaction and happiness as you no longer obsess over reaching the result. Immersing yourself in the process and celebrating forward momentum will enable you to let go and live a life of joy on your way to achieving your goals and dreams.


Give Up All-or-Nothing Goals to be Happier


While it’s true that those who set explicit goals are ten times more likely to achieve them, setting all-or-nothing goals is a recipe for failure. 


Setting goals that require a too dramatic amount of willpower, lifestyle change, time allocation, or investment will cause you to fail. 


Unless that is, you can go live in a retreat that supports the change in your life you seek for an extended visit. 


There is a reason people pay a lot of money and leave their lives to go to a rehab center. Everything from the food, to the therapists and community, lifestyle, and residence facilities support the achieving the goal of sobriety. 


And there is a reason people save money to go on wellness retreats in gorgeous locations. Sometimes we need a few days of immersion in the way we want to live our life to inspire lasting change once we get home.


Far more realistic and accessible are setting micro goals.


 Instead of going all in and declaring you will give up all sugar forever, aim for the micro goal of going sugar-free each Monday. Hey, and if you hate Mondays and are grumpy anyway, you’ll be able to use your sugar detox as an excuse for your bad mood. Whereas some may be tempted to declare they are no longer eating red meat, or will now do an hour of yoga five days a week, you can set micro goals. Committing to ten minutes of yoga each morning before work and meatless work weeks is feasible.


Once going meat or sugar-free and ten minutes of yoga is firmly entrenched in your day or days of the week, you can always set the bar a fraction higher. Aim for fifteen minutes of yoga, or six days a week of a vegetarian life.


Achieving your goals will change your life with boosts in self-efficacy and confidence.


Who Do You Want to BE? 


Aim for dreams, resolutions, new mini-habits, and daily living that align with your essential nature and the type of person you want to be. 


What sort of person are you right now? How do you want to show up in the world? 


How do you want people to think of you?


How do you want to make others feel?


Finish these sentences. 

I’m the sort of person who:

People say that I am:


Turn who you want to be into action you do daily, consistently. Writers write. Runners run. Friendly people smile and engage in chatting. Generous people give. Book lovers read. Designers design. You get the picture.


It won’t matter if you only do five minutes some days of your action. Consistently showing up and engaging will prime your brain to define itself as someone who : [fill in the blank] and you will feel in congruence when you think of yourself and define yourself as, say, a gardener.


Now Let it ALL Go to Live a Life of Joy


Now that you have done all that work on defining who you are and working daily to make it a reality, it’s time to release the ego.


Ask yourself every day while you shower: Who am I?

Release your history, profession, relationships, country, place of birth, age, gender, and personality. Who are you underneath? Keep asking yourself: who am I? 


Search out the timeless constant within you. 


TAKE ACTION


  1. Claim Your Essential Nature to be Happy.

Write down your strengths. (Unsure what your strengths are? Visit http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths-Survey# or https://high5test.com/


Write down your passions.


(Unsure of your passions? Here’s a free passion test: https://thepassiontest.com/ )


Now brainstorm. How can you fuse the two and find time daily to use the fusion in a state of flow for at least ten minutes?


Set the Vision but LIVE for the Process to Open to Joy


Break your goal down into minuscule finish lines to cross each month, week, day, and hour.


Train your attention as close to the present moment as possible. What can you do every day for a realistic space of time to make progress? 


Set an intention for each hour of work. 


Reward yourself after you finish each daily milestone to get a kick of feel-good dopamine.


Don’t Set All-or-Nothing Goals


Create micro goals that are realistic and accessible. You can always increase the effort, time, or scope in 66 days when your new habit or change is cemented into your life.


Decide the Type of Person You Want to Be to Live With Joy


How do you want to show up in the world?

What do you want people to see you? How do you want to make others feel?

Finish these sentences.

I’m the sort of person who:

People say that I am:


Turn who you want to be into an action you do daily, consistently.


Let Go of the EGO


Keep asking yourself: who am I? Search out the timeless constant within you to let go and live a life of more radiant joy.


Wishing you radiant health, joy, and love, Heather

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