When I think about awakening joy, I must say, self-control is NOT the first thing I think about. In fact, it would be pretty far down the list. But James Baraz made me think of it differently.
The book I’ve been using for these messages, Awakening Joy
, is mostly a book about mindfulness. “Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different, enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will), and being with the unpleasant without fear it will always be this way (which it won’t). With greater mindfulness, we become less reactive, more interested and more attuned to what’s really going on inside …. Mindfulness is really the art of appreciating the moment just as it is.” pg. 33
I think we all, adults, youth and children would all like to bring more joy into our lives. If you are and are ready to do something, just a little something about it, let’s begin:
Again, this is about setting an intention, which is simple but not necessarily easy. This is a nice visual exercise as well as one that helps all of us focus on moving from the negative to the positive, and it’s this easy:
On a piece of paper draw a line from top to bottom in the middle of the page. On the left side write the things that you don’t want in your life and on the right the things that you do want in your life for example:
Things I don’t want:
Things I do want:
If you are working with a child, give them real examples from your own life, things that they would understand, so they know it’s ok to be honest and vulnerable. When you have completed you list/s draw a line that connects each negative to the positive. This is a skill that is worth developing, it helps us realize that we are not stuck in the negative and shows us a path to the positive. It also helps us learn to name what we are feeling…another thing many of us are not very good at.
The next step is to literally cut the two side apart. You keep the “do want” list. The “don’t want” list will be not just be let go of but DESTROYED! It could be eaten by a shredder, or if it works for your situation, you can burn them, or if neither of those is possible tear it up into tiny pieces and go outside hoop, holler, jump, stomp and let those negative things GO. Then start to work, with intention, on moving from the negative to the positive.
Small things done with great love.
Director of Children & Young Family Ministries