The Pursuit of Joy

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Have you ever pursued something so doggedly and it seems to stay just out of reach?  You try so hard to achieve your goal or fulfill your desire, yet you just can’t seem to get any closer. Sometimes you feel that the harder you try, the more elusive it becomes…

I certainly know that feeling!  Whether it was a dream job or just some sign that I was headed in the right direction, it always seemed like what I wished would rarely come to fruition.  It was frustrating, to say the least.

But as with everything, maybe a shift in perspective is all that we truly need.  Maybe we already have exactly what we have been looking for, but we just need to open our eyes wide enough to see.  Maybe all we need to do is simply start appreciating the good things we already have in our lives.

We live in a society that constantly wants to be better, faster, healthier, fitter, skinnier, richer, more successful.  The list goes on and on…  Rarely do we (and I am talking about the general trend of our society at large here) take a step back and really appreciate what we’ve already got.  Instead of going out to buy the next best thing, how about we try to use what we’ve already got? 

What a novel idea.

I heard recently that the pursuit of joy will never lead to joy.  That if you want to truly experience joy in your life, don’t actually pursue it.  This intrigued me and made me think about all of the times I have actively pursued happiness and joy in my life.  Did they actually lead to joy?  When I started to think back, I realized that most of the time the answer was no.

When we pursue joy (or anything else really) we become self focused.  Narrow minded.  We become so set on this one desire, to have joy in our lives, that we don’t see the everyday things around us that can provide that joy.  If only we would just alter slightly the way we think about our everyday lives.  Shift our perspective just a little bit…

There is a theory called the law of attraction.  Its basic premise is that like attracts like.  What you give, you will eventually receive.  Using this principle in our pursuit for joy, maybe all we need to do is give love and joy to others and the Universe will bring joy into our lives.

Maybe the key in finding joy is surrender.  Letting go a little on our desire and focusing instead on what we already have and working to cultivate joy in the life of those we love.  I have found that when I take this path in my life, I end up feeling a happiness and fulfillment beyond what I could possibly have originally imagined.

So this holiday season, spread joy and love and hugs and happiness.  Give these things to those you love and I am willing to bet that a feeling of joy will come back to you twofold.

Give it a shot.  I doubt you will be disappointed.  You may also make someone’s day.  How awesome would that be?

Happy Holidays to you and yours.  Thank you for a wonderful 2015 for The Yogi~Foodie.  I cannot wait to see what 2016 will bring!!

Peace, love and joy,

The Yogi~Foodie

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Motivation

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.   ~ George Addair

How do you stay motivated to see things through?  To keep fighting the battle? To keep going when the going gets super tough? 

How do you stay in the trenches when you feel like you are getting pummeled by enemy fire?  Pick yourself up to keep going when you are exhausted?  Hold on to that dream and refuse to let it go?

These questions have been on my mind recently as I have been grappling with the topic of motivation in my own life.  Back in May I graduated from a year-long health coaching program.  I was super motivated to go out and start a new career for myself.  I started my own company, launched a website and began to build what I imagined would be a dream job.  I wanted to save the world, one vegetable at a time.  Fast forward 7 or so months to today.  The passion is still there but the motivation not so much.  I knew it would be hard to build a new career for myself, but not THIS hard. 

I still need to pay the bills and the current money-making venture in my life takes up quite a bit of my time.  Spending time with those who are important to me (friends, family, significant other), exercising, cooking, getting enough sleep, hanging out with my dog; these are all things that are important for me to include in my life too.  They are a big part of my formula for happiness, positivity and fulfillment.

So how do you handle balancing all of those things and building a successful business?  It’s not easy, hence my eventual loss of motivation.  I got tired, overwhelmed and a little resentful towards my dream.  It was keeping me from doing the things that make me happy.  It was causing stress.  So I put it on the back burner and decided to focus on my personal life for a little while.

I preach about balance a lot on this blog.  Hec, my business is called Wholesome Balanced Wellness.  I am all about the balance!  So, why can’t I work towards a dream, step by step, while continuing to keep my life in a healthy balance?  Exercise, date nights, movies and cooking.  But also writing, researching and reading.  Ok, maybe I’m on to something here…

So what is stopping me from finding this balance?  Motivation.  I’ve got to find the right combination of things that gets me motivated to continue down this path at a pace appropriate enough for where I am at right now in my life.  Something that I can fit into my formula that won’t knock it all out of whack.

When I don’t know where to start, I always go back to the drawing board; to square one.  And then take it step by step.

Step 1 – What topics inspire me and get me pumped up?

  • Nutrition/Food as medicine
  • Natural healing through a balanced diet, daily movement, adequate sleep and fun
  • Sugar and its impact on our health
  • Fitness (primarily yoga, cardio and strength training)

Step 2 – How can I bring these topics into my every day life?

  • Blogging and writing
  • Develop a workout routine for myself that incorporates all aspects of fitness that are important for my health
  • Continue to read about nutrition, sugar and food
  • Possibly pursue a yoga teacher training program and/or a nutrition certification

Step 3 – Create goals and regularly reflect on my progress

I am currently working through Step 3 of my drawing board.  I have joined the gym near my house and am a few weeks into a new workout plan.  I am making moves in my career to bring more flexibility and happiness into my daily life.  I am researching yoga teacher training programs to possibly do in 2016.  Basically, I’ve got a few things simmering in the pot.  So we’ll see what comes out of them!  These things are starting to re-ignite my motivation again, to slowly rebuild the flame that petered out a little bit recently.

To stay on this course and maintain my motivation, I am keeping a few things in mind…

First, go with the flow.  If things happen to change a few months down the road, I will adjust my goals and keep on moving forward.  The Universe has plans for me that will unfold with time.  So I am keeping my eyes, ears and heart open.  Who knows what may come my way? 

Second, dare to be different.  We are all unique individuals who bring our own gifts to the world.  My path will not look like anyone else’s and that is okay.  I am following my heart and honoring what is best for me.  Comparing myself to others and where they are in their lives and careers will get me nowhere.

Third, don’t let the haters hold you back.  There will always be doubters and people who make you second guess yourself.  I am choosing to surround myself with those who love me and encourage me to follow my dreams.  Luckily I’ve got a good group of them.  

Fourth, don’t rush it.  Good things take time.  There is a great quote I have taped to my monitor on my desk at home by MLK Jr., which states “Take the first step in faith.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase.  Just take the first step.”  I love that and it is a good daily reminder for me.

Lastly, focus on the bigger picture.  There will be times when I take two steps back before I move forward again.  The more I focus on my bigger goals and dreams, the less of an impact these setbacks will have.  It will do me no good to let frustrations derail my dreams.

What motivates you?  Are there passions in your life you would like to pursue?  Maybe these three steps could work for you as well.  It’s never too late to do something you love or start a new hobby on the side.  As we enter this holiday season and the new year, I encourage you to reflect a little on the past and think about what you want to make a reality in your future. And if you are perfectly content with where you currently are in your life, bravo!  Celebrate that too.

Peace, love and motivation,

The Yogi~Foodie