It's hard to look at the state of the world and find reasons for joy. We are constantly inundated by images of war and violence, pain and suffering, injustice and incompetence, to a greater degree than humankind has ever been before. Through the lightning technology of virtual connection, we now have a front row seat to every atrocity, every tragedy, all over the world, at all times. It's too much for our brains, and certainly too much for our hearts.
But in reality, our lack of joy is not the fault of these awful truths. Our lack of joy comes from us allowing them to dull our inner light. To steal our energy, our power, and cover us under a blanket of inescapable darkness. We cannot change all the ills of the world, but we can change how we react to them. We can learn to choose happiness. To see the good as well as the bad, because there is so much more good. The kindness of our neighbors, the sweetness in our children, the beauty of nature, and to be grateful. And when we find gratitude, the joy arises from within, burning brighter and stronger, lifting up those around us, and hopefully leading to a world where choosing happiness doesn't take so much effort.
In asana, playing with rooted heart and side body opening can invite space around the heart and increase our capacity for joy. Exalted warrior and peaceful warrior, variations of virabhadrasana I and II respectively, are wonderful options to play with the balance of rooting and rising. As are sphinx pose (bhujangasana on the forearms) or it's light and playful sister, pincha mayurasana (forearm balance).
Nature also offers up tools to lift our spirits and warm our hearts. And doTERRA harnesses these beautifully in their delightful blend of citruses and spices, fittingly called Cheer. This Uplifting Blend of Wild Orange, Clove, Lemon, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Ginger and Cinnamon, is warm and inviting, encouraging lifted spirits and bringing sunshine to the darkest seeming days. Placing a couple drops into the palms of your hands, rubbing them together, then cupping your nose and mouth and inhaling deeply can lessen the weight of despair and sadness, inspire hope, and help open the pathway to gratitude. Because gratitude is the key to living a life in joy.
"The root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful."