Saturday, September 5, 2009

Just Obesrve Yourself

The simpler things are, the better I like it. One of my favorite reminders to live simply, and joyfully is the acronym for JOY. Just Observe Yourself.

Many of us seem to be looking outside ourselves in search of joy, and actually by simply looking within and observing ourselves, we will see joy expressed, or we will see how joy is blocked. Either way, we're ultimately in control by the thoughts we think. Knowing that piece alone is pretty liberating.

So, here's how you practice the JOY principle: At any given moment, check in and observe yourself. How are your feeling? Are you resentful, angry, jealous, grateful, loving, excited, inspired, or afraid? What are you thinking? Are you complaining in your mind about how someone else is not doing what you'd like them to do? Are you replaying an old story that always gets you upset? Are you looking into the future with fear? Perhaps you are dreaming about the future with excitement and a feeling of empowerment? Are you hooked into sadness, blame or anger due to the actions of others? Are you being forgiving or are you condemning? Are you harboring feelings of guilt? Are you holding yourself small and unimportant, or are you appreciating all the gifts and blessings that make up who you are?

When we practice the simple act of just observing ourselves, we can then choose if we want to stick with our current thoughts and actions or choose other thoughts that are better aligned with experiencing joy.

Joy is our natural way of being. It is not exclusive for special people. There are no special people. It is meant for each of us. When we simply observe ourselves and learn if we are aligned with joy or not, we then have the choice to make whatever adjustments are necessary so that JOY can not only be present in that moment, but can be a way of life.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Little Acorn With a Big Message

Earlier this week while hiking in the Smokey Mountains of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, I was in a conversation with my friend about my personal and professional growth. In one particular moment that I was sharing a fear about taking a big step professionally, I heard something rolling down the hillside. In the instant I completed my statement about fear, a little acorn landed on my path, directly in front of me.
The timing, the placement, and the particular precious piece of nature that found it's way to me in that moment, did not escape my attention. I laughed out loud as I realized God may be trying to get my attention. It worked.
As I picked up the acorn and studied it, I thought about the significance of it's message. Since I was specifically sharing a fear of living big and stretching out of my comfort zone, I realized how the potential for a great oak tree was embedded within this little acorn. It may be small now, but the potential for growth is surely present.
Just like the acorn came from a huge Oak tree on that Smokey Mountain hillside, I came from God. I believe I rolled into this life with all that I need already within me. I have been planted here and I am growing whether I have fear or not.
So, my lesson from the little acorn is that I may as well enjoy my sprouting and growth and reach for the sun rather than hide in the shade, knowing there is really nothing to fear.