I remember the moment I committed to a life of joy. It was when Jerry, of Conversations with Jerry and Other People I Thought Were Dead, says that, in the spirit world, he flows from one joyous experience to the next, guided by wisdom. I was inspired to do the same in the physical world.
While not an easy path, a life of joy is certainly a worthy one. I've had to give up complaining, which has resulted in more energy and better health. Rather than indulging in problems, I must seek solutions. And because joy and judgment cannot coexist, my choice in each moment must exclude judging myself, others, or life's events. Take a deep breath. We are all capable of this. Imagine the joy of going hours and days without a negative thought.
As human beings, we continually seek satisfaction outside ourselves—in relationships we think will make us happy and jobs we hope will provide fulfillment. As a spiritual being in touch with my divine nature, however, I bring my satisfaction to each moment. Rather than asking life to satisfy me, I am in the moment, contributing my satisfaction to life. It’s a very different orientation. This transformative way of being allows me to come into relationships giving rather than looking to receive, which leads to highly satisfying and successful relationships.
We’ve all heard the words life and death paired so often, we think they are opposites. But the opposite of death isn't life. The opposite of death is birth. The human experience is finite. It begins at birth and ends with death. Life, however, has no opposite. Life is eternal—and so are we. This in itself is an extraordinary blessing. But perhaps an even greater blessing is the freedom we have to choose our response to life, regardless of circumstance. And I choose gratitude and joy.
What empowers my choice is my commitment. What facilitates my choice is the knowledge that this is a loving and beneficent universe and that everything happens for my highest good—whether or not I see it. Trusting life allows me to transform situations I previously would have deemed “predicaments” into opportunities for growth. It allows me to see the glass not merely half-full, but full to overflowing. My friend and mentor, Ron, inspires me in this regard. A few weeks ago he had a heart attack. From the time it happened to the time he was in the emergency room to the time he found out that he needed heart surgery to the time he awakened in the ICU, and throughout his eight weeks of recovery, he did not have one negative thought about himself or what was unfolding. He knew it was for his highest good.
We all have the ability to choose to believe that everything that happens is for our highest good. I’ve learned, however, that it doesn’t work to place a positive thought on top of a lifetime of negative thinking. The inner work is essential, and the inner work is identifying and releasing outdated beliefs, misconceptions, and flat-out lies.
Jerry says that we plan our life circumstances prior to birth for purposes of spiritual growth. Understanding that the people in my life, regardless of the roles they play, are here by mutual agreement and in service to my highest good helps me take 100 percent responsibility for my experience. For years, I blamed my mother for what wasn’t working in my life, which left me believing I was powerless to change. I thought the damage had been done and there was nothing I could do about it.
What I’ve learned through these conversations with my friends and family on the "other side" is that we choose our parents as much for their unconsciousness as for their consciousness. One reason we choose our parents is because of their wounds. Their wounds, which they hand down to us, are precisely the wounds we need to inherit. This is the material that, on a soul level, we’ve agreed to heal. Not only are we not victims of our upbringing, our upbringing is by design—our design. We are powerful creators! Each generation is responsible for healing what their parents have passed on to them.
When faced with a challenging situation, the questions I ask myself today are different from those I asked in the past. Before, I asked: Why is God punishing me? What’s wrong with me? What’s the point? Now, I ask: Why would my soul have agreed to this experience? What did I desire to learn? In what way(s) is this experience serving me.
In the past, I judged everything and everyone, including myself. Today, I know that I’m not equipped to judge someone if I don’t know what they’re here to learn or how they will best learn it. How can I judge whether a situation is fair and just without access to all the lifetimes of all the individuals involved? How can I even judge myself? I can’t. Judgment and joy cannot exist simultaneously. By choosing a life of joy, I must relinquish judgment, the source of all unnecessary suffering.
I have learned the art of compassionate self-forgiveness. Anytime I judge someone as wrong, I know that what I’m seeing in that person lurks inside of me. I look within for the behavior or attitude that I am judging, and I own it. If it’s not apparent, I ask myself whether I could conceive of it being a part of my experience under a different set of circumstances. I forgive myself for having made that judgment in the first place. I compassionately embrace that aspect of myself. Compassionate self-forgiveness allows me to release judgment and return to my Authentic and Divine Self. It’s like starting with a clean slate. This is what allows me to live moment-by-moment in a state of joy. What’s not to love about that? Every moment is a new one.
Committing unconditionally to a life of joy is the key to living a life of joy. What facilitates that commitment is twofold: holding beliefs that are in alignment with truth, and practicing compassionate self-forgiveness. Are you up for a life of joy? I'd love to coach you! You can schedule a session at www.irenekendig.com/page/soulcentered-coaching.