I played enough Super Mario growing up to know that powering-up was where it was at. That moment when you got the Super Star or the Magic Mushroom took everything to the next level. Even if things weren’t going especially well for you leading up to that moment, the power-up was a total game changer. The original perspective shift.
I often think about joy this way.
You know that energy? The one that comes from tapping into the things we wholeheartedly love and reveling in them? Or, maybe you don’t. So many of us lose touch with it. That electric energy of pure joy. So potent, it can create a halo. A circle of light and vitality that radiates outward, well beyond its immediate area. Just like when you power-up…
Through adulting, many of us begin to reserve seeking this joy for vacation (if we take vacation…). And, sometimes, we succeed in finding it there. However, a little sprinkling here and there often feels insufficient. “Joy is not made to be a crumb.” And, I think we feel that dissonance deep in our souls.
Joy should be a regular thing. Dare I say, an intentional practice? The positive benefits of maintaining a gratitude practice have been well documented. What about a joy practice?
So often, when seeking to answer the question of how to be happier, we jump first to the big things. A new city. A new job. A new career. A new romance. And, sometimes, those things may be a gateway. But, always, we can benefit from harnessing our joy and the things that bring it and letting that joy shine across all facets of our lives. Right away. And, the magic is, these things can be little things.
For me, getting lost in the mysterious mental labyrinth of a poem that wants to be written is pure bliss. For my partner, rowing at sunrise is a go-to. My friend started singing and joined a band.
What creates the joy power-up for you could be anything. There is no right answer here. And it is by no means limited to one thing. We should be cultivating joy everywhere and every way we can.
If you can’t remember what brings you joy, don’t despair. You can reunite with that part of yourself. Busyness often drowns out the voice of the part of you with the map. So, start by making space.
Then, in that space, do something that calls you. Just because you can. In “The Artist’s Way,” Julia Cameron speaks of “artist dates.” You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy them. They are time alone for something that sounds fun or interesting. Time to explore. Time to play. Light, whimsical, whatever – it doesn’t matter. Anything goes. The point is to get out of your status quo and start to tap into other parts of yourself. With time, training yourself to color outside of the lines in this way will chart the path to your joy.
It doesn’t take much to make a meaningful impact on your life. And, that’s an important awareness. Because, of course, it’s great to think about what big changes might be calling. But, also great, is realizing a little shift can transform your overall fulfillment and well-being.
Added benefit is, if you’re contemplating a major life change, doing so powered-up with joy will best position you for that journey.
Joy for the win.