Plan for Joy

A few weeks ago I listened to a radio show by Radleigh Valentine and he said on average people laugh 15 times a day. Fifteen times! And then he asked, “Do you remember if you laughed at all yesterday?” He pointed out it’s easy to remember the unpleasant things – the times we’re sad or scared or anxious – but the joyful times, the laughing times, are easier to forget. He encouraged his listeners to take note of when they laugh, to see if it adds up to 15 times. And then he said something really interesting: Plan for joy.

archangel uriel sun card

Radleigh does angel tarot and he suggested printing out this card as a reminder to plan for joy.

When he said, “Plan for joy” I wanted to pause his radio show so I could take that in. It hasn’t occurred to me lately I would need to plan for joy – I assumed joy would sort of happen if I bumbled around in my life. But you know? That’s not true – I mean, sure, I stumble across joy every once and a while like an adventurer coming into a clearing – but it wasn’t necessarily something I planned for. I assumed I’d experience joy once my life was peachy keen – when my financial situation improved, the love of my life came along, etc. I think you know this already, but joy is the quiet moments, the small events that we may not remember long after they happen. It’s having a friend call you up spontaneously asking to hang out. It’s laughing along with a television show. It’s finding out the book you put on hold at the library has become available.

Joy can be spontaneous but it can also be planned and that’s what struck me the most about Radleigh’s show. In an interesting juxtaposition, I had a powerful therapy session this week. I went from fearful, anxious, and insecure in one moment to laughing, goofy, and joyful in the next. My therapist had me remember a moment I felt joyful, loved, appreciated and embody it. Notice what colors I associated with the experience and then she asked me if a movement or sound accompanied it. It did – joy for me looks like strutting with my toes flexed and my heels out singing along to “Let’s go fly a kite” or Life of Brian’s “Always look on the bright side of life.”

What amazes me is no matter how icky I feel, strutting around my cottage and singing “Always look on the bright side of life,” automatically puts a smile on my face and lifts my mood. I can be melodramatic and get caught up in what’s wrong with my life. Lately, like I wrote on my birthday, I’m noticing what’s right. I’m seeking joy even in the midst of the things I do not like. And I’m remembering joy is not winning the lottery or buying a new car, it’s humming to myself while I walk, it’s remembering all the times I laughed yesterday, it’s making an active effort to improve my mood because I am planning for joy.

I dream of a world where we remember we can access joy at any time. A world where we all have that one song that brings a smile to our face. A world where we remember the times we laugh. A world where we not only experience joy, but we plan for it.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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10 comments… add one
  • Erika Apr 8, 2014, 9:05 am

    “I can be melodramatic and get caught up in what’s wrong with my life. Lately… I’m noticing what’s right. ”
    YES!!! Me too! I think it can feel “authentic” to focus on the “serious” parts or the negative bits but I’m starting to realize it’s HABIT more than anything. I’m used to looking at what’s wrong and creating even more of it in my life. Getting stuck in it. Now I see that it takes a conscious effort to be joyful BUT the more I do it, the more natural it will become… and soon, the negativity will feel weirder and less like “me.” It’s a wonderful thing to learn and to realize! Thanks for sharing, Rebekah! 🙂

    • Rebekah Apr 8, 2014, 6:46 pm

      Absolutely! And you’re welcome Erika!

  • Michelle Apr 8, 2014, 4:05 pm

    I Love IT! Thanks for sharing your new experiences in planning for joy. I am a happy (and some call crazy) person almost all of the time. I find when I don’t listen to music, or take time to reflect and be grateful, I am sliding into depression, one I can always CHOOSE to nip in the bud. I just wrote a post about Choosing Gratitude. We all get busy, things don’t go the way we think they should. No matter what, we each have to choice to choose joy. Blessings and Joy!

    • Rebekah Apr 8, 2014, 6:45 pm

      Beautiful! Thanks for sharing Michelle!

  • Shannon Apr 10, 2014, 1:37 pm

    Well, this is fantastic. I feel like I spend a lot of my time actively worrying about things that haven’t happened yet, so doing the opposite of planning for joy. Planning for misery. And then I read a blog post about how most of the things we worry about never happen because our brains work waaaay faster than our lives do. But we never notice because by the time we’ve reached the moment when our worries should become realized, we’ve already moved onto new worries. And now your post seems like a perfect reminder to switch to joyful thinking.

    I’ve been walking around my city a lot, and as everything is brand new to me, I’ve found a lot of joy in seeing interesting buildings or things that just delight me. So I asked my bf to wake up early tomorrow and come on a photo walk for me before he goes to work, and that feels a little like planning for joy 🙂

    • Rebekah Apr 13, 2014, 9:46 pm

      =) Lovely!

  • Kris May 9, 2015, 2:36 am

    Rebekah, after waking to usual apparent dire situation that masquerades as my life, but also acknowledging all the wonderful, helpful people that surround me whom I love so much; and pointed me in the direction of the Angel Tarot and your lovely gentle kind words and commentary has elevated me from despair to a place of light and love. And the cosmos agrees too, she changed from dark clouds and rain to a bright sunlit sky as soon as I started typing to you.

    I am grateful for your presence on this planet and wish you all the love that this existence has to offer.

    • Rebekah May 10, 2015, 10:40 am

      Wow, what a comment and compliment Kris. Thank you so much. I’m grateful this blogpost found you and was able to aid you. I wish you nothing but the best now and in the future. A deep namaskar to you, which is similar to namaste, but means, “I salute the divinity within you, that is also within me, with all the divine charms of my mind and all the love in my heart.” <3

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