Joy Practice

Joy, part 2

Practices that help cultivate joy (SEE HERE), I have grouped into three categories. The “Might be Your Thing" category has practices that are not for everyone – but one of them just might be what really works for you. These are things like:
These things really bring joy to some people. Any one of them might not be your thing. If it is, the question is, are you setting aside enough time to do it?

The second category is “Worth a Try.” These are practices for everyone, although perhaps not on a regular basis. I’m saying, try these one time. If you really like it you might start doing it on a regular basis, but even if you only ever do it once, it’s kind of a nice exercise to have done once. These include things like:
Some of these "Worth a Try" exercises are for doing with another person, and require some care in selecting the suitable partner.
Some of these practices are “lift your spirits” practices:
  • Watch an Inspiring Movie (includes a list of 36 films good for lifting your spirits)
  • Create a Magical Playlist (pick your favorite songs and make a playlist on your iPod, or on Spotify, or, if you’re old school, burn a CD -- or, if you’re really old school, making a tape, if that's still possible)
A key part of your strategy for cultivating joy in your life is (a) noticing when you’re kind of bummed, (b) making an intentional decision about what to do about that, because sometimes grief is appropriate and you need to let yourself be in that space for a while, and (c) having ways to cheer yourself up – if you decide that being cheered up is what you want.

The May issue of On the Journey explores the theme, Joy. The issue mentions several of the "Worth a Try" practices:
  • The Mirror Exercise (where you look yourself in the eye in the mirror and tell that person how much you appreciate and are proud of them)
  • The Year to Live List (where you imagine that you had one year to live, and make a list of what you’d like to do in that year, and then, maybe some of those things you go ahead and make plans to do, or else do something a little bit along those lines -- for instance, if “go to Tibet” would be what you’d want to do with one year to live, but that wouldn’t be responsible in your current reality, maybe you could make plans to visit, say, the Tibetan monastery in Woodstock)
  • The Birthday-Funeral (invite friends over, perhaps as a birthday celebration, and ask them to not to bring a gift but come prepared to share a favorite memory about their connection with you – the kind of stories that too often don’t get told except at funerals)
  • Create a Pain and Pleasure List (write down 10 things you like to do, 10 you don’t like doing, and then notice how much of your typical week is spent on the “don’t like” items -- see if you can move yourself to spending a bit more time doing what you do like)
All these are worth a try for everyone – at least once, and return to them as needed. This is how we pay attention to intentionally cultivating joy in our lives.

The third category are the “Keep in Mind” practices. These are things for everyone to just keep in mind, try to cultivate as you go through your day – try to make into a habit.They aren’t particular exercises, other than sometimes making them a focus of your journaling. Mostly these are little reminders to give yourself, habits of being to tell yourself to try to exemplify.
Each one of these has its own post on CUCmatters.org detailing what’s it’s all about and how to do it.

You’ve got your “Might Be Your Thing” practices – find one that is your thing. There’s the “Worth a Try” practices – give each of them a try once, and stay with the ones that seem helpful. And there’s the “Keep in Mind” practices that are slogans to live by and try to make into habits

Beyond these three categories there are simply “The Basics” for a life of joy.

Next: The Basics

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This is part 2 of 3 of "Joy"
See also
Part 1: Joy and Happiness, Evolution, Money
Part 3: The Three Base Practices for Joy
On Joy
On the Journey: 2017 May: Joy

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