Spirit often talks about joy as the foundation of our lives. This week we’re responding to one of our reader’s feedback on our April 2 article, “The Gift of Joy.” If you want to see that article again, here it is.

John Cali

Here is our reader’s letter, followed by part of my response to her:

“I re-read your articles on Joy. Of course, I have read them before but as humans, we like things tough.

“I myself am currently going through a dark time. My house is gone, job is gone and most of my self-esteem. At the age of 52, I have to start all over again. I can see down the road how this will eventually be a good thing. However now I am enmeshed, slogging through the mud of my misery. I have been advised to get on anti-depressants but isn’t this just a lack of joy?

“My mom and I were discussing why we are so thick about joy. My goal is to feel joy no matter what the situation. I think we are innately martyrs — truly crazy.

“Thanks again for sharing.

“I added another goal — how to be a sunbeam, a.k.a. barber.”

(The “barber” reference is to Frank in this newsletter.)

With her permission, I’m giving you this lady’s contact information. Her name is Tara Dee and you can email her at this address.

Please feel free to contact her and perhaps share some of your own experiences. I firmly believe we can be powerful catalysts for helping each other heal when we share in a positive loving way.

My response:

“I know it’s not much comfort for you to know this, but many people I’ve talked to recently are going through the same challenges. And, I’m sure, even more I haven’t talked to. It’s the “dark night of the soul” for many right now.

“But I don’t believe, as you put it, “as humans, we like things tough.” Or that we are martyrs. I do think, however, we’re conditioned by our society to believe the myth of “no pain, no gain.” After all, so the myth goes, success is hard work, it doesn’t just fall into our laps.

“And yet, in my view, the only criterion of our success as humans is the amount of joy we feel — the amount of love and appreciation.

“I think you’re wise to resist going on anti-depressants. That, of course, is only my opinion, and many would disagree with me. As you said, this is ‘just a lack of joy.’ Certainly, anti-depressants can offer temporary relief for some in terrible shape.

“But the problem with anti-depressants, and I’ve seen this among my own family and friends, is people get dependent on medication. The solution — again, my opinion — is to get ‘dependent’ on your own inner resources and guidance. To focus on your passionate desire for more joy in your life. And not to simply numb yourself with drugs, alcohol, sex, whatever. That only disempowers you. Those things really do work to numb the pain. But they are only temporary ‘fixes.’

My barber, Frank, is certainly a great role model for us. But he’s also had his human challenges. Yet he’s always risen above them, and moved back into his centered, powerful place of joy. In creating more joy for others, which he does so expertly, he creates more joy for himself.

“I know you can do the same. I know you will move beyond your daunting challenges back into your powerful place of joy. I know this because I can clearly see it in your words and in your energy. You’re a very wise and strong woman. You cannot fail. This is only a temporary setback and just another step on your journey to success.”

Now here’s Spirit. I expected Spirit’s comments to be brief. But I should know better than to think I know what to expect with Spirit. When I do that, I’m usually wrong. 😉

Spirit

We agree with John that humans do not, by nature, “like things tough” or enjoy being martyrs. But your society teaches you life is tough and you must expect to sacrifice and suffer.

In our view — and in your higher selves’ view — that’s utter nonsense. It’s a myth. We don’t know exactly where, in your human history, you got so far “off track” that the myth became the reality of your experience.

But, after all, anything you keep thinking and believing must manifest in your lives. That’s simply the law of attraction in action.

We applaud Tara Dee’s goal to feel joy in all her experiences, whether they be “good” or “bad.”

Of course, there are no truly bad experiences because all experiences, all paths, lead you back home to yourselves, to God.

You measure your human success in so many ways that don’t really matter in themselves — fame, fortune, power, position, influence, and so on. While we are not discounting the value of those, we are saying they do not matter unless you feel joy in your lives all, or most, of the time.

Joy is the only criterion of your success.

It’s especially important to seek joy when you are feeling joyless. For example, when you are facing challenges similar to Tara Dee’s. There are no challenges you cannot successfully meet. None!

When you are feeling torn, sad, confused, defeated, the absolute best thing you can do is to get back in touch with your higher selves.

One of the most powerful ways to do that is meditation, in whatever form feels best to you. If you don’t, or cannot, meditate (for whatever reason) there’s a simple, equally powerful technique.

Breathing.

You might say you breathe all the time. That’s true or you wouldn’t still be in your bodies. But we’re talking about conscious breathing.

Just take a few minutes, especially when you’re feeling stressed, to consciously breathe. Inhale slowly, deliberately for a few seconds. Then exhale slowly a few more seconds. Then do it again and again.

As simple and easy as that sounds, we promise you it will quickly bring you back to a state of peace and joy, no matter what is going on in the world around you.

You are all powerful beings of light. You can create the lives of your dreams. While life may appear difficult on the outside, it does not have to be difficult on the inside.

You create your lives from the inside out. It’s not the other way around, as many believe, where what’s going on in the outer world determines your happiness. When that seems to be happening, what’s really going on is this: you’re allowing outer circumstances to rob you of your inner power. It is impossible for that to happen when you are in a state of joy.

Joy, friends, is the key to all the success you desire in your lives. It’s that simple. Seek joy first, and all else you seek will follow. It must follow.