So, so much is written about gratitude. That’s the case because it’s so important. But when we do it from a place of “have to” (as in it’s a “good idea”), when we do it a from a place of “doing” gratitude instead of “being” gratitude, as in being grateful, it’s actually empty and can cause more harm than good. When we cheapen gratitude by using it only for what it can give us, with the thought that “if I express enough gratitude I will be rewarded with good things”, we’re not actually in gratitude, we’re using it simply as a means to an end…as a tool…as a way to get what we want.Read More >>>
Here’s an example of where I choose to participate every year. Run for the Cure happens every year and I’ve been participating in it every year since I was first diagnosed and treated 14 years ago.
The year that I first did it I’d just come off my last round of chemo and I was bald as a baby ostrich. But I ran anyway, because I knew that my life depended on me choosing IN. I don’t just mean for the run, but for my life!
I chose yes. I chose to run (and I mean run, every year since then, no matter what shape I am in, cause I figure if I could run after 4 rounds or chemo there is never an excuse to not run) for the cure. I chose getting my friends involved. I chose making it into a bit of a victory dance (even though I wasn’t done cancer treatment yet) because I knew that being a clear and conscious ‘yes’ to life and all it had to offer is what was going to keep me alive.
Whatever your reason, whatever your excuse is for not participating in your life (or in something like Run for the Cure), get over it, get over yourself and go grab your life by the balls.
Bring hope to the thousands and thousands of women that get diagnosed with breast cancer every year. How to do that? You can do the run. You can volunteer. You can raise money. You can come out and cheer on the people that are running.
I used to just think Run for the Cure was about raising money to find a cure for breast cancer. But it turns out that the thing that has been most impactful is the inspiration it gives the women who are fighting for their lives. Knowing that someone’s got your back when you’re in that kind of hell storm. Even if it’s not you or someone you love, breast cancer will affect your life, somehow, sometime. So why not take the fight to it, starting now?
Okay over to you:
How will you be participating in Run for the Cure this year? What inspirational stories have you seen coming out of the run? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.
Participation is a life choice. We’ve been talking a lot about decisions in the last few months, but if we’re not choosing the perspective of participation then we are choosing passivity and waiting.
So here’s the challenge: Participate. When you might normally (consciously or not) make the choice for inaction, make the choice for action instead.
Here are some situations that you might likely say no to. I challenge you to participate and choose yes instead!
- When people invite you out and you’re sitting on the fence, say yes.
- Deciding between going for a walk and watching TV, choose the action. Go for a walk.
- When seeing other people getting involved in the community, choose to join them! As long as it’s something you’re also excited about, don’t wait to see how it turns out for your friend, jump into action!
- If a friend invites you to the opera and you don’t know if you like opera, go find out!
- If a friend invites you bungee-jumping and you think you might be too chicken for that, go find out!
- If a friend invites you to go to Italy and you’re not sure if you’ll enjoy travelling, go find out! (But only after you’ve introduced that friend to me!)
- When someone smiles or flirts with you, smile and flirt right back (and this applies to both the married and unmarried, because a little innocent extramarital flirting can bring some fun back into the marriage!) .
- When you are at a restaurant and about to order the same old things… pick something different and discover how you feel about something new.
- If you are invited to an event where you won’t know anyone, or you don’t know if you will know anyone… say yes to the invitation and meet some new people.
Okay over to you:
What are other situations you should be saying ‘yes’ to? How has saying ‘yes’ impacted your daily life and mood? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.
If you want to have the amazing fulfilling life of your dreams, you need to participate. You need to choose to get into action. It’s a simple fact, yet so many of us struggle with just how to manage this!
It’s so easy to just sit, hope, wonder and wait for the life of your dreams. But if you want your life to be different, you have to make it different! Just like everything else, it’s a choice.Read More >>>
If you read my last post and got inspired to take some time off, hopefully you are feeling at least a little bit rejuvenated. Because, it’s now time to kick things into action!
September is one of those months. Such that even though it is two-thirds of the way through the year, it feels like the beginning. I’m still reminded about those first days of school getting new crayons, new books, new classes, and new teachers. And those nostalgic memories always inspire me to get into new action and re-commit to life!Read More >>>
I’ve been spending a lot of time in time-off mode lately. And I’ve got to let you in on a little secret… it’s pretty freaking fantastic! Not only do I get to lounge about in my PJ’s all day if I want to, I am finally able to do some much needed thinking, reflecting and rejuvenating. So, here are 10 reasons why you should take a week off, soon!
- September is just around the corner and we all know how crazy that can get. This is the last week of summer; you might as well enjoy it!
- Spend some time in nature. Enjoy the beauty that Mother Nature has created before the dark months of winter creep in.
- Take time to get together with dear friends. We all know once the school year sets in again, friends are going to be far too busy taxiing kids from here to there.
- Savour romantic time with your partner.
- Bask in a bit of self-care. Get a massage, go for a swim, or make the kind of dinner that makes you happy (not everybody else).
- It’s the exhale. We can’t just stay in busy mode all the time. (That would be hyperventilating…) We need to have a balance between the inhales and the exhales.
- Explore that new restaurant/café/ shop/neighbourhood/beach that has been on your list for ages but you’ve still never made it to.
- Get creative. Take on some DIY, drop in to the pottery studio or sit alone colouring. Important thing is to get those juices flowing!
- Sleep. I can guarantee you probably need it.
- You work hard all year long. Stop guilting yourself out of time off. Take it and just enjoy it!
Rest and rejuvenation will look different for different people so some of this is an exercise in figuring out what it looks like for you. Once you’ve done that, it’s so much easier to start to create rituals around it that will last the whole year.
Okay over to you:
When’s the last time you took a week off? What are some of your favourite relaxation activities? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.
So some of us aren’t very in tune with how we’re feeling in a particular moment. Enter my solution… the joy-o-meter! (Don’t worry you already have one…you just might not know it!)
The joy-o-meter is a whimsical way I use to gauge how joyful I am in the moment or around a particular situation, and it’s also a great way to use joy as a decision-making tool. Every situation requires joy (or a bit of foy), so the joy-o-meter can show you what activities to pursue, which people to spend time with, and which careers to choose.
To get using your own joy-o-meter, first notice what are your indicators that you are closer to or further from joy? For me it is all in my voice. If I sound alive, excited, engaged, then my joy-o-meter is running high. If I am sunken, heavy, slow in my speech, if I think I have to do something or it is a “good idea”, then my joy-o-meter is low.
When my joy-o-meter is low, I take it as an indicator that it’s time to re-think that activity or choice. Or I consider that it’s time to change my attitude or perspective about that thing.
Sometimes, it takes a little bit of a snap to get the joy-o-meter back into working order. Use these questions to help you do that:
- Where in your life have gotten into the rut of just doing what’s a good idea?
Maybe you’re going to the same place for your date night or even ordering the same food. At work you might be doing the same tasks and never volunteering for the interesting, exciting, or a little bit scary tasks.
- What’s it costing you?
- Where are you choosing joy or fun?
- How does it affect you? How do you know you’re in the joy and the fun?
- What do you need to do to choose more fun?
Your self-respect? Excitement? Spontaneity? New possibilities?
Hint: These are the things that make your heart pound, your eyes twinkle, or put a smile on your face. You know that you’re stretching yourself and you feel anticipation when you’re doing these activities.
Check out these examples. Are you more aware, or tuned in to yourself and your environment? Maybe you’re feeling a buzz, an excitement, an anticipation?
Maybe it’s a matter of saying no to the stuff that doesn’t work. Or maybe it’s time to get your joy-o-meter tuned up so you know what’s joyful!
Okay over to you:
When has your joy-o-meter served you? What do you plan to do to trust it more often? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.
In the process of writing the joy posts for this month I was looking through my old Team Signý blog from my early days as a cancer survivor. I came across this post on joy dated February 1st, 2006 and well, it’s relevant as ever today! So here’s a little blast from the blogging past for ya…
The day I went to see the surgeon, I also had an appointment with my Physiotherapist. She is really more of an energy healer than at PT, but that is why I like her so much! So naturally, she has a few things to weight in on about health issues.
Not a surprise to either of us, she reported that I don’t have anything that feels anything like cancer. Ok, good. So, what else? She said she saw it like a “Do over”. You know, what ever the things that I had managed to forget, that apparently were really important for me to remember, I get to go back and start again, wipe the slate clean and really get it, at an even deeper level this time. Cool! We never did “Do overs” when I was a kid.
So what was this really important thing that I forgot, I wondered. Causing poor Bev (PT) to stand there with her mouth hanging open. “You need to stop, you need to stop, you need to stop doing the things you are doing!!! You know the things that are sucking the life out of you! WAKE UP! Where have you been?” (yes, she really does talk to me like that, God I love people that aren’t intimidated by me).
“Oh yeah, that. OH YEAH, THAT! Oh my god, how do I stop, how do I learn to stop, how do I know when to stop”, I said, hitting my panic botton at the same time. “I know what you mean, there is a line, a line I cross, but I don’t know what the line is, I don’t know how to recognize it. HOW WILL I RECOGNIZE IT!!!!” (now you can see why is it so important for me to feel my feelings regularly, otherwise they get channeled into unhealthy expressions).
She didn’t need to slap me across the face, all she did was, in a quiet little voice, a bit like a 5 year old’s, say “joy”. What do you mean? (now more loudly and forcefully) “Joy.” “Joy, that’s the line you can’t cross.”. Now it was my turn, mouth open, eyes incredulous. Joy, yes, yes it is joy. I totally got it. It all made sense. When I choose people pleasing over joy, when I choose good ideas, or strategic plans, or doing it right or expectations of others or ought to’s over joy, over fun, over my heart, over what makes me happy and sing and dance (which, by the way, brings me joy – that is some help I need, take me dancing!!!). When I do that, it doesn’t work! What doesn’t work? My life doesn’t work, my whole life, I shrivel up, I forget who Signý is, I stop seeing myself as precious and important. No, no, no. From now on… NO MORE.
Now, how do I actually live that? Well, we shall see, and I shall keep you updated. But so far so good.
Fast forward to now. Joy may well be part of the gift I’m bringing to the world, but that doesn’t mean it comes easily in every situation. I choose joy and it’s a choice I make every day.
Okay over to you:
When have you been reminded to choose joy? What was that process like for you? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.
Joy is such a precious gift. And to me summertime is just filled with joy. Everyone is out, having fun and really enjoying themselves and the beautiful sunshine. Last week I introduced the idea of fun leading into joy with my new word – foy. But we still need to do some more investigating…what is joy, really?
For me, joy can be seen in that childlike sense of wonder and curiosity, the delight we see on a child’s face (on their good days), and their overflowing enthusiasm when they get excited about something. A happy child is joy incarnate. Children are filled to the brim with it. It is their default position.
Think about it, we don’t wait patiently, coaxing out a baby’s frown. No, we are waiting for their smile and their laugh, because that is what comes first. Not just to some babies, but to all babies, and not just to some human beings, but all human beings. Joy is our birthright, our natural state.
Joy is like an exaltation—an interesting combination of gratitude, awe and happiness. But it’s beyond happiness.
Happiness says, “Wow, I have so many of the things I want. Life is good.”
Joy is about revelling in the absolute assuredness and certainty that everything is exactly the way it’s meant to be (even when something is a bit off, it is about finding the rightness in it – more on that next week).
The experience of joy is unique to each of us—from what brings us joy, to what qualities it encompasses to how we recognize it in ourselves or others. Yet there seem to be some common elements:
- Feeling engaged in life
- Being in the flow
- Having a sense of connection, to our hearts, our communities, something bigger than ourselves, or to the whole
- Being aware, being tuned in to ourselves and our environment
- A sense of awe and wonder at life
- A buzz, an excitement, an anticipation
- It is self-referencing: we feel it inside ourselves and have to be tuned into ourselves in order to know we are in that place.
- We are engaged in activities that fill us up, that strengthen us, and have us feel very much alive.
But over time we seem to migrate away from joy. Why?!? There seems to be a bit of a myth in society that we have to work hard. Therefore, if something comes to us easily, it must not have value. More and more I’m realizing that when we are in our natural state (of JOY!), life is easier.
There’s a cost to not living from a place of joy. The cost is that we get ourselves stuck in a non-flow place. We’re actually slowed down in our lives. It’s just like putting an obstacle in front of an oak tree that is trying to grow. It will most likely still be able to grow, but it’s going to be slower as it negotiates its way around the object.
Joy is about being fully yourself and fully expressed. Don’t let life drown out the joy. Find ways this summer to bring joy back into your life.
Okay over to you:
What does joy feel like for you? What are you doing to keep joy in your life? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.
Last week was my birthday. As you probably gathered from my last post I LOVE to celebrate my birthday! So much so that I don’t just to a birth-day. I do a minimum of a birth-week or a birth-month and ideally the fun will continue on for the whole summer!
Why? Well, fun is one of the easiest paths to joy. It is slightly tricky to put my finger on a precise definition of joy (although I took a crack at in my forthcoming book – Participation is Mandatory). But fun is different. Fun is the way you get to joy. Doing fun things gets you to that joyful place.
In fact, I use these two words, fun and joy, together so often that I invented my own word: Foy!
Fun + Joy = Foy!
Even during this hard time, this first birthday without my dad, I still have a choice to choose be connected to my friends and what’s fun for me.
As a result, my birthday itself was fantastic! I loved being surrounded by good friends, having amazing conversations, getting to be the center of a attention (yes, its true that’s what I love), having room for spontaneity, and maintaining a deep connection to my core self. All bringing me so much foy!
As we continue through Leo season, take time this summer to experience some foy for yourself!
Okay over to you:
What are some things that bring you foy? What are you doing to ensure you experience fun this summer? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.