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WISDOM WITHIN - July 2016 - Kansas City
Ways You Can Create Joy
By Suzette Scholtes
The morning after my son’s wedding, I arose at dawn to walk in the woods. I wound my way deep into the forest, loving the beauty as the sun rose. Critters scattered here and there, and birds sang their music. The colors were more rich and the trees more majestic. How my heart burst with joy and gratitude. I thanked the universe for this magical time.
The rising sun beckoned me home to finish preparations for the day-after wedding breakfast. An open house was planned with as many as l00 guests. They came in waves, not too crowded. I was calm. My good friend helped. We welcomed new friends and old to enjoy our time together.
And I wonder why happiness and joy is so elusive. Some days, happiness and joy are abundant and gratitude fills our hearts. Yet, some days, worry and fear replace it. Is there a payoff? Maybe being “unhappy” gets more attention? Maybe a bad mood is a comfort zone? Makes me think of Abe Lincoln who said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
It’s a fact we feel happier when our needs are met. Wikipedia summarizes Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” (very condensed here):
Survival: air, water, and food, clothing and shelter.
Personal security including financial security and health and well-being.
Love and belonging: friendships, family, and acceptance within social circles.
Esteem for us all is the need to feel respected and own self-respect. Self-actualization is included, for example, the need to be a good parent or boss.
Self-transcendence involves creating goals outside oneself in altruism and spirituality.
Our editor, Jill Dutton, is a prime example of this.
It feels to me that self-love, self-esteem, and self-value open the gateways to happiness and joy. In talking with a good friend, we discussed how esteem and self-value and self-worth seem to ebb and flow. Indeed, some days we feel good about ourselves, and other days, the inner critic goes haywire with noise.
Author of the book, Upward Spiral, Alex Korb, writes it is important to be “sappy” such as loving your pup or cat or hugging a lot. Optimism is a building block of joy. I know many optimistic folks, and I hear and see many pessimistic folks who I try to cheer up with a warm greeting and a smile.
Love and support from loved ones makes us happy. Yesterday, my sister helped me watch the grandkids. We created a fun-filled day with activities, outside fun, and good food.
It helps us all to feel “in charge” of our lives. We need meaningful work. Many enjoy volunteering their time to worthy causes. It helps to find “balance” of quiet time, our exercise time, and good sleep.
Relationships tend to prosper by talking and sharing and caring and listening and supporting one another. It has been proven that couples do not remember why they “fight” but how they were feeling during the disagreement both before and after.
Last, if you are reading this on the internet, it is reported that long periods on the internet lowers life satisfaction. Maybe time to log off and go outside to breathe deep and enjoy the sun or moon or stars?
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Suzette Scholtes’ non-fiction writing won the prestigious “Writers Digest” award. Her passions are writing and yoga and she feels one needs a sense of humor for both. She founded The Yoga School of Therapeutics where she manages one of the regions prestige teacher training programs. 10400 W. 103rd Street,