by M. Gail Woodard
I am an emotional person. Always have been, always will be. I just feel things stronger than most people. And I'm OK with that. But it often makes life hard to endure. What would be mere frustrations to most people are catastrophes to me.
Guess what? The world is full to the brim with frustrations. So where does that leave me? Feeling helpless and hopeless. Feeling unhappy and unhappy again at my lack of ability to be happy.
This is why I requested this review copy from the author. I could use more joy in my life. And I'm quite sure that you could too. Everyone could.
When the book arrived in the mail it was tiny. Teeny tiny. I didn't believe that it could contain everything I would need to increase my joy. But this is about trying something new since my current way to joyfulness is drowning in emotional chaos. What I found within these 125 pages was potent. I read with an open mind and I decided that this just might work.
Woodard gets straight to the point. She explains what each practice is and how to do it daily. She asks her readers to give each practice a full three weeks before adding on the next one. I didn't have that much time to devote to it and get a review up in a timely manner; I did however give each practice a few days to try on for size so I could give an informed review.
- Pay Attention
- Say Thank You
- Be Quiet
- Let It Go
- Own Your Feelings
- Choose Your Beliefs
- Live Love
These sound fairly simple and straight forward but there is depth to each one. The first 3 are about carving out time for inner peace. They are pretty easy if you take the time to do them. The next 3 are more challenging and have to do with digging deep within yourself to find out what holds you back from being joyful. They will take more time and can be intense. Work at your own pace. The last chapter is more of a reward. Once you have increased your inner joy you now get to give it wings in the real world. I believe I can do this. And I really really really want to do this.
The good news for me is that I already do half of these things. I am deeply in tune with my own feelings and often those of the people around me. I know that beauty makes me happy. Whenever I can create beauty I feel filled up with giddiness and joy, so I quilt and I decorate and I bake and I write and I am learning to play piano. I say thank you lavishly to everyone I meet wherever I go. (I acknowledge that I need to say it more at home.)
The challenge for me will be with the digging deep to discover my beliefs and discerning when they need to be altered. The idea of being in control of my emotions instead of being controlled by them sounds unfathomable to me but it's a deep longing.
This morning I wrote down a quote from the book:
"Just for today, I let go of anger.
Just for today, I let go of worry.
Just for today, I give thanks for my blessings.
Just for today, I do my work with integrity.
Just for today, I am kind to every living creature."
Isn't that a beautiful idea? Guess what? For the first time in a while, I actually had a good day from beginning to end. Just for today, I have had joy. This feels huge. Not all my days will feel this way but just for today, I am encouraged.
I want to thank M. Gail Woodard for sharing this book with me. I commit to practicing these challenges frequently. I look forward to the day when my husband tells me he sees a real change in me and my ability to live a joyful life. My family deserves a joyful mother. I deserve joy.
If you are interested in learning more about the ideas in this book, visit Seven Practices. There is a plethora of information to help you achieve joy.
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