John Lennon once wrote, “When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Here’s the truth: Joy is our natural state. In fact, the more fun we have, the better life works for us. This is the premise of the first experiment in Pam’s Grout’s book E3 and it’s a great way to cultivate spiritual growth.
So, let’s get ready to generate some awesome joy!
Now, I realize that it’s easier to know that joy is your natural state when you’re on vacation, or when you feel well and things are going great with your work, or with your significant other. But let’s be honest. When your alarm goes off Monday morning and you’ve got a day jam-packed with things you’ve got to get done…are you generally filled with vibrantly joyful energy first thing when you wake up? Do you bounce out of bed and shout “Halleluia, I’m glad to be alive and so grateful for another opportunity to shine my light and spread my joy into the world. Let me get to it!!” Probably not. But I’d be willing to bet you used to feel like that.
One of the most delightful memories of my twins when they were really little is the experience of watching them wake up and embrace a new day. Even when they woke me up at the crack of dawn, their joyful energy was so infectious that pretty soon I was joining them in “the adventure of a new day.” If you’ve raised kids, you know this. Little kids are so excited to experience all the joys of a brand new day. Olivia, in particular, would take my hand and lead me downstairs, “come on momma, let’s go visit the toys!” Or, “Come on, let’s go walk outside and say hi to doggie next door” or “Let’s go make waffle!”
Children just naturally assume that wonders await them with every new day…and everything is a wonder when they’re little. Discovering what things are is a wonder. I remember my other daughter, Juliet would wake up, stand up in her crib (she couldn’t have been older than 11 months) and point to everything in their room with such wonder and joy and ask “whassat? Whassat?” She was always such an enthusiastically joyful child.
Most little kids are like this in the beginning. That’s why I know that joy is our natural state. Then, life sets in. They get older and begin to experience pain of a friend being mean to them, or the loss of a grandparent, or disappointment, then later homework…and life becomes not so joyful anymore. It happens to all of us. That pain we experience is actually the pain of separation from our Source. We forget our oneness with God and with each other and begin to believe joy is outside of us. So we do everything we can to capture the joy that’s “out there.” And then, we hang onto it for dear life. But of course, anything outside of us that we think will bring us joy, is only temporary. Even my kids as joyful, enthusiastic little girls…temporary.
The thing is, I think we all know, deep down, that joy is within us, but we forget and continue to fool ourselves by thinking “oh, I’ll be happy when I get married (then later, “when I get this person out of my life!”) Or, “I’ll be happy when I get that job (or, “when I get some time off.”) Or, “I’ll be happy when I have kids (or, “when the kids grow up and finally leave the house!”) It’s an endless cycle of thinking we’ll finally find happiness when things “out there” change.
So we end up focusing on what’s missing in our lives, rather than enjoying what we have. We find things to worry about and complain about and we trudge through the business of our day, ticking things off our never-ending “to do” list….creating an energy completely devoid of joy…which becomes the default position for many people. How many people do you see walking down the street grinning from ear to ear, whistling a happy tune…visibly joyful?
We forget that we are vibrational beings and our default attitude affects our energy, our vibration. We forget we live in a vibrational universe that receives the energy we’re sending out and reflects back to us a lot more to complain about.
But anyone can change their default position. We can change our default position. Thanks to the neuroplasticity in our brains we can intentionally create new neural pathways, and rewire our brains to set joy as our new default position. We can completely up-level our vibration to the tone of inner happiness. Then, the vibrational universe reflects that back to us as more to rejoice about…as an expansive life, a fulfilling career, as loving, satisfying relationships. All of that comes as a result of first connecting with our inner joy.
A great way to shift our energy and get it vibrating to implement Pam’s “experiment” which consists of three parts (well, really 2 parts, with one extra credit.) Here is my modification of that experiment:
So the first part of it is the “boogie-woogie” aspect. This shifts your energy faster than anything I know. You are going to pick a song, either from one of those listed below, or choose one of your own. (It needs to be an upbeat “celebrate life” kind of song.)
You are then going to play that song first thing in the morning, and while it’s playing…you will either pump your fists in the air, or dance with abandon, or maybe you’d like to loudly exclaim to the universe, “Yes! Thank you God for another amazing day! I am so grateful to be alive and to have another day to enjoy life!” Do one of those things to get the energy moving in your body.
You can start right now by clicking on this link. (You’ll get some great examples too!)
Now, check how you’re feeling. Imagine starting the day with that! This one activity will instantly shift your energy and set you up for a day of joy. You will be ready to face anything. And it will be easier to do the second part of this experiment.
You’re going to say “thank you” to the universe for everything that happens. Be grateful for everything…and I mean everything. From a cup of really good coffee to…oops!…the stain it just made on your favorite sweater. From finding a parking spot right in front of wherever you’re going, to someone swooping in and stealing that parking spot. From finding exactly what you needed in the grocery store to the long line you have to stand in to check out. From successfully completing a difficult report at work, to your boss then criticizing it.
Feel free to make up a story about all of these things that might tempt you to get bummed. The stain on your sweater might mean you now have permission to go buy something new! The spot that was stolen right from under your nose and forced you to park far away helped you to get closer to you goal of 10,000 steps a day. The long line in the grocery store gave you an opportunity to talk to the person behind you and make a connection with someone you have a lot in common with. The boss criticizing your report forced you to…maybe find a new program that will save you time in the future?
Saying “thank you” to everything forces you to find the blessing in everything….which ultimately resets your default position to joy!
Okay, extra credit now…
Take this joyous, positive energy to the streets. Be joyful in public and see if it might rub off on other people. Pretend you are Patch Adams. Remember him? He’s the doctor who wore the big red rubber nose during rounds and made his patients laugh, which caused them to get better faster. He actually participating in many other public displays of joy and silliness. This was a practice that actually saved his life (he was once suicidally depressed.) He made an art of making others happy. And there is nothing like making others happy to really up-level our vibration.
Use your imagination. You could try wearing a red, rubber nose while driving your car, and see what others do when you pull up to light. Pam mentions carrying a super large teddy bear around. That just makes people smile. Sing or dance in the middle of Trader Joes. You’ll fit right in with the employees there! When someone says, “have a nice day,” respond jubilantly with, “oh yes, it is a wonderful day! I wish you a joy-filled day as well.”
So, that’s the basic experiment. Pam recommends you do it for 3 days. But my feeling is that this is a legitimate spiritual practice and one that’s easy to do…and amazingly rewarding. So, incorporate it into your daily routine and watch your whole approach to life shift. And then, watch the vibrational universe reflect that back to you in amazing and miraculous ways.
Okay…on your mark, get set, go Boogie-Woogie!