I placed a sign at the entry of Cedar Sanctuary that reads simply, “choose joy.” Is it really that simple? (My initial typo when writing this was “chgoose” joy, which I am en-joying and will use here.) I chgoose joy!

What does this mean, and what exactly is joy? Joy can be an attitude, a lens through which we see the world, even when (especially when) times are challenging, painful, or situations that seemingly do not inspire joy. Key: This does not mean denying or resisting feelings of grief, anger, sadness, or moments when joy may be temporarily forgotten. Chgoosing joy means finding it in every situation. (Deep breath.)

Remember the kid game Whack-A-Mole, where creatures pop up their heads up and you whack ’em back down with a mallet? Yep, that one. Have you ever felt like you’re caught in a Whack-A-Mole loop? For me, recurring dental issues and debilitating pain sometimes feel like the game that would-not-end.

While this may not be funsies joyful, I can still experience the joy of addressing deeply held issues and beliefs and getting at their root (pun intended). The joy of finally finding a holistically oriented competent and caring local dentist. The joy of having wonderful friends through all the times. The joy of challenging moments that can still inspire me to laugh out loud, although perhaps a bit maniacally. All forms of laughter exercise the laughter muscle, are great for shaking off stress, and can be quite contagious. I can chgoose to observe and laugh through it all!

You may be thinking I’ve gone off my rocker here and that may be so, but I know that I always have a choice as to how I experience challenging moments, and:
A. No amount of wishing changes the reality of what has come to pass, only my perception of it. I may as well joyfully get with the program.

B. I have so much to be grateful for, especially my ever-deepening understanding of my spiritual nature.

C. I’ve learned to befriend all the feels, including, “This sucks!” (I had a great WTF soundtrack playing yesterday while dancing like a wild banshee. It’s rated PG for profanity, but next time you visit Cedar Sanctuary, ask me to play it for you.)

> Inserts maniacal laughter here. <

Susan Creighton: Wellness Connects / Cedar Sanctuary / MELT