Competition is all around us these days. Sports, business, and politics are all about competition at some level. I heard a politician* make this comment Sunday. “I’d love to compete against ____________.” That thought surprised me. Even after 7 years of working in politics, I’d never thought about enjoying the electoral process. An area where competition is especially prevalent is, of course, sports. One of the NFL quarterbacks takes such a great pleasure in the game. Last Sunday, I saw him smile even as he was knocked down after he’d thrown a pass.
And it’s that Joy that I think is the point of Life. Too many of us don’t enjoy Life. We may enjoy some parts of it, sure. Our circumstances can certainly have a dampening effect on any pleasure we might feel. But much of our misery and suffering comes not from circumstance, but expectation. We’ve been taught that life is hard. We see bad things happen, so we believe that life is, in fact, a bitch. That’s what we expect, and that’s what we see. Too often, even when something good happens, that’s dismissed as the exception that proves the rule. Our Personal Mythology gets written as, “Life’s a bitch, and then you die.”
But let’s go back to those earlier examples of the politician and the athlete. There are lots of politicians out there. I wonder how many really enjoy the competitive process we call elections? As near as I can tell, not too many. Are the folks that enjoy that stuff the successful ones? That’s a good question. Success in politics certainly doesn’t seem to be predicated on being positive. But if you reveled in the election process, you’d have an awful lot of what I’d call “positive” energy around you. I mean your joy in the rough and tumble would mean you’d come across as a much more energetic candidate. That energy might be positive or negative, but it’s there. And energy in politics attracts a lot of attention.
What about that quarterback? Competitive sports takes LOTS of energy. Enjoying the game gives you that something extra that makes such a difference. You play harder, giving more, taking more risks, reveling in the success. In sports, playing with that abandon, giving that something extra, seems to correlate with success.
A few years ago, I was at a music festival, and the band was really cookin’. And the dancers and spectators were really fired up, which fed the musicians even more. That pumped up the crowd more. It wasn’t a big name group, and there wasn’t a big crowd on the dance floor. Still, the energy was amazing! “Why don’t we put this kind of energy into everything we do?”, I remember thinking. We certainly could bring that level of energy and Joy to Life. I believe we should do that. Notice that I combined energy and Joy. We have plenty of fear, anger, and frustration in the world already. Let’s not add to that.
So how do you bring Joy to all of your Life? The simple answer? Do the things that bring you joy! I’m not kidding, either. Doing the things that make you happy is a fairly straightforward way to a Happier Life. Sometimes it’s hard to do those things. You might be in a tough situation financially or emotionally. You may have lost somebody special. You might be homeless or in a war zone or a survivor of a tragedy. I’ve not had to face all of those circumstances. But I’ve had a few things happen. I’ve had to choose Joy. I had to make the decision that I AM a Joyful person. It hasn’t happened overnight. But as I work on being that Joyful person, I’ve discovered that I AM, in fact, Happier than I used to be. I did that with the Intention, “I AM Joy”. I wrote stories into my Personal Mythology that reinforced the Intention, “I AM Joy”. I act as if I AM a Joyful person. And that’s what I AM. That’s Who I Really AM. Now to work on bringing that Joy to all parts of my Life.
Bring that Joy or Peace or Patience or whatever you want into your Life. Set that Intention, “I AM Joy” or “I AM Peace” or “I AM Patience”. Repeat that phrase several times a day, feeling Joy or Peace or Patience, You may have to act as if you are Joyful for some period of time, especially if you find yourself in less than Joyful circumstances. It can be hard to do. But that’s why you practice. To be a Joyful person, even when your outer circumstances ain’t so hot. That way, your Joy, your Peace, Your Patience isn’t dependent on circumstance. It’s just Who You Are.
REMEMBER – I AM _________.
Fill in the space with your choice of feeling. Use that in your practice.
And So It Is!
~ Inspired by a random comment, that I guess wasn’t so random after all.
Peace, Grace, & Love,
*I’ll let you decide who’s who when I’m making reference to politics, sports, or any endeavor that generates that kind of passion. That’s because the who isn’t important; the what is. And in all the sound and fury of modern life, arguing over personalities obscures the experience of LIfe.