3 Steps to Living with Joy

1. Forgiveness - Forgive everyone who has ever hurt us, and forgive ourselves for hurting others

2. Gratitude -  for everything we have, all the good things

3. Wisdom - Seeing everything as coming from God, Divine tap on the shoulder

Step 1.

Forgiving everyone who has ever hurt us and forgiving ourselves for hurting anyone.

Every one of us has both received hurts and been the perpetrator of hurts in our lifetime. Whether friends or family or co-workers, we have all consciously or unconsciously hurt others and received hurts from others. It has taken me years to let go of the past and to forgive myself and others for hurts I have given and received. I remember vividly the anger in my father’s large frame that shook the walls around me as a child, and the terror I felt. As a mother of 2 grown daughters, I look back and see all the times I yelled when I should have been compassionate, or was resentful when I should have spoken my truth. I can recall the look of terror in my daughter’s eyes when I raised my voice in anger.

I could hold these images in my mind to self flagellate myself for these injustices. But I have learned that if I do not forgive myself and those who hurt me, it only continues to harm my physical, mental and emotional being. The mind-body connection has become naturalized in medicine today, as doctors and researchers see first hand examples of this mechanism at work.

An increasing number of US medical schools and centres now have departments devoted to mind–body research and some also to mind–body treatment, including Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Columbia University (New York, NY), University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Pittsburgh (PA). This now-interdisciplinary research field, which also includes behavioural medicine, is often called psychoneuroimmunology or psychoendo neuroimmunology, and “incorporates ideas, belief systems, hopes, and desires as well as biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy,” according to Ray (2004).​.

Forgiveness can be a done in simple ways such as writing a letter to myself or the other person and saying everything I always wanted to say. The letter does not need to be given to the other person, unless you are ready. The letter needs to include, simple statements such as I forgive myself or __________ for  hurting me. I forgive myself for hurting _____________. Or, we can look in the mirror and simply say out loud, I forgive myself, and I forgive ________ for _________. It may take time and happen in layers, like peeling an onion, but the resolution will happen by saying this forgiveness as an affirmation.

I have found these processes to alleviate the residual pain residing in my body and mind. I feel more free and alive.

Step 2.

Gratitude for everything we have, all the good things, every day.

There is so much negativity in the world at this time. We are inundated with bad news all around us. I have found it helpful to remember the good things daily to keep my focus on the positive and my spirits high. Upon waking in the morning just taking a moment to thank the universe for everything I have, even little things like warm blankets, a good breakfast, a roof over my head. Just saying thank you for these gifts is rejuvenating and uplifting, and helps me to maintain a positive attitude.

Step 3.  

Seeing everything as coming from God, a divine tap on the shoulder.

No matter what comes my way, I have found it always empowering and transformational to see the challenges, successes and obstacles as a divine tap on the shoulder, or a wake up call, or a call to be my highest self.  When I take the victim attitude, I am doomed for depression and self-bashing. If we can see even the worst things that happen to us as a gift from God or the universe giving us an opportunity to change and grow, we can feel powerful and ready to face anything everyday!

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