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Joy is Not Optional

We had an amazing retreat in Thailand! I wish every single one of you could have been there! But since we all can't be everywhere at once, I thought I'd give you some of the nuggets from what we talked about throughout the week we were there! We based our conversations and classes around The Book of Joy and used their 8 pillars of joy as the guidelines for how we can all find lasting joy in our lives.

Joy is Not Optional Retreat, Koh Samui

The pillars are comprised of: Four Pillars or Qualities of the Mind: Perspective, Humility, Humor, and Acceptance Four Pillars or Qualities of the Heart: Forgiveness, Gratitude, Compassion, and Generosity Perspective: A healthy perspective is the foundation of joy. When we allow ourselves to move through the world with a "larger perspective", a perspective that includes consideration of other people's thoughts and ideas, we create more joy and less resistance in our own lives.

Humility: This is our pathway to integrity and honesty. Humility asks us to question ourselves and shows us that open-mindedness and a genuine sense of togetherness is crucial to a joyful life.

Humor: Often overlooked for more "serious" practices, humor is our way of connecting with people around us, humbling ourselves, and recognizing that while life can be hard, laughter can be one of the best tools for us to move through the uncertainty we face in our lifetimes.

Acceptance: We create anxiety and stress when we decide to "swim upstream" but when we accept the twists and turns in our life with presence of mind it is an incredibly powerful step towards joy.

Forgiveness: There is an extreme strength in forgiveness. We must develop empathy for the wrong-doer. We do not have to forget seeking justice, but when we can forgive we unshackle ourselves from the chains of bitterness and resentment. We free ourselves to be able to communicate more clearly and seek freedom and joy.

Gratitude: This is the next step after we accept our surroundings, can we feel gratitude even in our darkest times? Can we feel thankful for everything we have and for all of the people who make or grow the things we need to survive? Remember gratitude and the hardest moments of our lives become just a bit easier to navigate.

Compassion: With compassion we are required to open our hearts to the suffering around us and challenge it head on. It is our connection to our highest self. One of the hardest practices we can work on is compassion for the self. When we recognize our own limitations and vulnerability as well as that of the people around us, we can feel the joy of community and of shared humanity.

Generosity: This is the antidote to loneliness. When we separate ourselves and our belongings from others, we feel alone. When we move through the world with generosity, we feel our connection with our human family. Be present, give your time away, give belongings away, give love away, give your very favorite thing away, get uncomfortable. You will gain so much more than you give.

Joy is Not Optional Retreat, the group at Vikasa

The key is seeing if you can practice each one of these pillars in your daily life. Pick one a week or a day or a month and commit to it full force. Let joy find its way into every nook and cranny of your life! Which of the pillars do you feel great at? Which ones do you struggle with and why?

Have a joy-filled weekend!


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