5 Steps to reclaim Joy

Do you wonder?

I’m curious about joy.

When was the last time you were deeply happy?

Take a minute now to remember!

You can enjoy it right now, if you like.

If you let yourself, even the memory will bring with it a visceral feeling in your body.

Notice how joy feels.

Likely, it feels good.

That bodily connection with an experience – past or present – is my definition of intimacy. I’ve felt it

…each time I held my seconds-old newborn children to my breast.

…in the arms of a new beloved encircling me for the first time.

…singing a soaring soprano line of Brahms Requiem with 150 others. 

These were some of the most extraordinary moments of my life.

Surprises of delight and wonder.

But I believe this intimacy – this deep felt connection – can also be invited.

We can choose it, if we decide to, and even make it a practice.

You see, I don’t believe spiritual practice demands a certain posture or particular location or somber attitude. The essence of each of us – what some call the soul – longs for a connection that is deeply intimate. But so often we believe we’re alone, separate from what we need, and that robs us of a connection that’s more possible that we imagine.

In fact, we need that deep connection to our joy now more than ever.


Trouble is, for most of us unless we choose otherwise, our neural pathways are grooved to notice what’s wrong instead of what’s right. Blame it on our fight or flight, primitive vestibular brain or early childhood patterning or simply our preoccupation with whatever is occupying our mind at the moment.

Our day-to-day lives have the potential to be filled with far more joy than we allow, regardless of what else is going on. Unfortunately most humans are so out of practice attuning to their senses that they rarely notice what’s also there to en-joy at any moment.

There’s the crescent new moon in the western sky at dusk.

The clarian call of a particular melodic bird song you can’t ignore, or don’t choose to.

White splashes of blossom in a greening world.

Our connection to the natural world ignites our joy simply because we are OF Nature, not separate observers of it. After 500 years of belief that humans are above nature, here to dominate and control it, as we realize what Joanna Macy refers to as “the greening of ourselves.” There’s a connection we can only ignore if we numb our senses to the truth.

The beauty we sense in nature helps us remember a visceral connection to joy that always exists. And is always possible, if we allow it.

Weekly over the past month I’ve been sharing a 5-step sense medication practice to help you reconnect to joy. 

By pairing the mind’s focus and intention with our senses’ awareness we invite a deeper felt sense of connection with the world around us. Then there’s more joy in any moment we choose.

Since you’re likely inside at this moment, look out a window.

NOTICE what catches your eye.

That’s step #1.

Next, step #2, ask yourself WHY. Why did your glance go there first? Was it the color that attracted you, or something else?

The more time you give this step the more accessible the next will be…

Now, step #3, let yourself feel how fortunate you are to have this glimpse of beauty.

Feel the THANK YOU of gratitude emerging in you.

If you allow yourself to recognize the fullness of this truth, if you give yourself permission to feel amazement for your good fortune, to have sight in the first place, to live on a planet with beauty abounding, to have this particular instant of exquisite sight you may also feel a WOW in your being!

Step #4 invites awe and wonder. Appropriate reactions when we contemplate the miracle of our existence and this moment.

Step #5 is more a result than an action you’ll need to make. When we feel this fullness, this intimacy with anything around us it’s hard not to be aware of the truth of our interconnectedness with everything. In this state, we feel open and welcoming. We sense the beauty and connection with others and our surroundings. We enjoy our differences and an interdependence that feels deeply intimate. This sense of awe can feel numinous and quiet. Or its very visceral power can drop us to our knees.

But as body and being unite, we remember our connection to All That Is and feel whole again, engaging our natural desire to reach out to help others.

The connection is so full it might be called Oneness… or Love.


With so much love,

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