Five simple ways to capture joy — Even if it’s for the birds!

Five simple ways to capture joy — Even if it’s for the birds!

4da167b47b42cedc21eda925acac1c94_XL“Joy is an emotion that occurs within us when we develop appreciation/thankfulness for the constants of life, such as nature, freedom and relationships with people, or through having faith in something larger than ourselves.” —Vic Lebouthillier

We are just a few weeks into autumn, and the leaves are changing color and beginning to fall as nature prepares for winter. This includes the birds flying south or moving around to different areas to find food and appropriate shelter. Birds are an elegant expression of nature. Just like Nature herself, birds act out of instinct; there is a graceful automaticity to everything they do.

Nature in all of its aspects is magnificent to watch, ponder and appreciate. It is one of those major constants in our lives and holds one of the keys to becoming joyful. Joy is an emotion that has the ability to create a state of being for us to live within — even when things are not necessarily going our way. We can also look at joy as being the opposite of fear. Both are often battling for our attention.

In today’s world, we are most often looking for immediate satisfaction that typically is an outcome of receiving something or getting hooked into the fast-paced life most of us live. They most often only offer us a false sense of happiness or security. Searching for something obtained from outside of ourselves does not help us to grow within.

Experts have found that teaching ourselves to be joyful about the simple things can enhance our health. Back in July there was a nest of robins balanced on top of my neighbor’s gutter that could be viewed from my dining room window. I saw the mother robin as a heroine of nature due to her commitment to her nest, eggs, and the care and feeding of her chicks. She provided my family and me with such simple joy just by allowing us to watch her.

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” —Lily Tomlin

One day I was trying to take a picture of the mother robin and her chicks with my cell phone. I was hanging out of windows, standing on chairs and even balancing on a stepladder. I became enamored with this bird family and have a much better appreciation for the art of bird watching. But ultimately, what I was really doing was following my heart by appreciating the joy I felt while watching these small beings of nature.

That same day, one of my neighbors came over to talk with me while I was trying to photograph the nest. I told her how much fun I was having watching the birds. She said, “You know when you get old — when you have nothing better to do than to watch things like nature.” She told me about being on vacation, and that she ended up watching a caterpillar crawling back and forth outside of her cottage. I retorted, “I don’t think it’s because we’re old, but rather, that simply appreciating nature helps us to experience joy in the moment.” She agreed.

“And you can dance for inspiration.” —Madonna, “Into the Groove”

Is it possible for us to take in moments of joy whenever and wherever we can? Yes! In finding joy, we need to build up our joy muscles, so to speak. We can do that by:

  • Making it a priority; teaching ourselves to be in joy.
  • Being OK with slowing down; seeking out deliberate moments of joy.
  • Making a list of what inspires joy within us (e.g., dancing, being in nature).
  • Using the list we made to place ourselves within that vibration of joy.
  • Allowing joy to eradicate any of our fears, which allows us to “get into the groove”!

In essence, we can take advice from the birds. My family of robins simply went with what they knew and what they needed to do. No worry, no stress, no fear — just trust and total freedom. What a miraculous way to live!


Jill E. Greinke, MSW, LCSW, SAC, is a holistic psychotherapist and transformational consultant specializing in transformational counseling and coaching, group coaching, workshops, teleconferences, presentations, speaking engagements and consultations. To get her free report, “Five Steps to Miraculous Living,” visit her at http://jillegreinke.com.

This article originally published Natures Pathways Magazine October 2013

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