Reclaiming Joy

For those of us who have been through trauma, finding joy through the healing journey can be challenging. We may not feel as though we have the right to be happy, or perhaps we don’t think we deserve it.  We may feel that we are just not lucky enough to have that.  This is not true.

Joy is your birthright.  Your right to joy is not determined by what you did or did not do, but by the fact that you are alive.  As long as you live, you deserve to be happy, regardless of your past experiences or who you were yesterday.

While finding joy in each day may be challenging, as we practice this more, we get better at it. The more you deliberately seek joy, the better you feel.  As you begin to feel better, your external world reflects this too.

When life is a struggle, attempting to find joy can feel impossible.  To shift this state of being, do oneFind Joy thing for just two minutes today to deliberately find something to feel joyful about, even  if it is a piece of chocolate.  Really focus on the joy it brings you in the moment, and allow that feeling to fill you.  Extend the time you spend seeking joy each day until you have reprogrammed the way you see the world.  When you seek joy, you will always find it. It is the desire to seek it that is the first step.

5 Ways to find and create joy in your life:

  1. Gratitude and appreciation:
    Make a list on paper (or even in your head) of five things you feel grateful for.  Choose things that you feel deep appreciation for – not things you think you should feel grateful for, but rather things that you really, in your heart, feel gratitude for.    Bask in these feelings, allowing them to carry you to the next uplifting thought.


  2. Music or dance:
    Moving your body allows you to shake off any internal weight you are carrying.  Put on fun music that makes you smile and want to get up and dance.  Allow your body to flow freely to the song, letting everything go.  Be silly and use movement to release everything that is weighing you down.


  3. Crafting or a hobby:
    Creatively expressing yourself can be both healing and nourishing. We feed our souls through our creative expression.  Use this practice to release and create. At the end of the project you will have a piece of art that comes from your soul. 


  4. Meditation:
    This is the most effective way to clear the mind of thought. Often we have a dialogue going on with self and are not really aware of the negative state of these thoughts.  Clearing the mind helps you to begin anew and intentionally choose the thoughts you want to begin with. You can only go up from there.
     
  5. Spending time in nature:
    Nature can be restorative and healing. Dangle your feet in water or ground yourself by being barefoot on the earth. Smell the flowers and bask in the glory around you.  Open your heart, body and mind to the healing of nature.

The more you intentionally seek joy, the more it will appear in your life.  Start where you are, no matter how small a step you take, and look for the beauty, love and joy that surrounds you.

What new discovery of joy have you made today? Share and let me know.

Many Blessings,

Santa

 

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RUNNING THROUGH DARKNESS
MEMOIR OF A SPIRITUAL WARRIOR

BY SANTA MOLINA-MARSHALL ‧ RELEASE DATE: MAY 3, 2022

This debut memoir chronicles a woman’s spiritual exploration and growth as she overcame a disturbing childhood and helped others heal.

Brought to America from the Dominican Republic as a youngster, Molina-Marshall should have led a happy life. Her father was a diligent worker, and his large family wanted for nothing. But the author recounts that her dad had a drinking problem and was a serial philanderer. Molina-Marshall’s long-suffering mother left him for a woman. Then it was all downhill for the bright, 12-year-old girl, who was shuttled between foster care and relatives. According to the author, she was sexually abused by the husband of one of her siblings. This resulted in Molina-Marshall becoming alienated and moody. By 15, she simply tried to survive. In her favor were grit and a restless intelligence. She quit school, rented a room, and found a factory job. Time went by, and for a while she was happily married. Yet when her husband left her, her life truly began. She turned to religion for answers but decided that blaming God for her woes was a cop-out. 

In this absorbing and moving memoir, Molina-Marshall’s vivid storytelling is fearless. She frankly discusses the truths she discovered and the indignities she suffered. These admissions are disclosed with a touch of resignation and plenty of bite. However painful, everything she experienced was a lesson, and she bravely realized that she was part of the problem: “The fear of being hurt, rejected, or abused often led to me feeling lonely and misunderstood. No one knew the agonizing pain I felt being trapped in my thoughts and anger. I was becoming my biggest threat.” 

The author skillfully recounts her intricate spiritual journey. To deal with her psychic wounds, she searched for an inspirational system. Her open-mindedness led her to the interfaith concept—cherry-picking from various religions and spiritual movements, yoga, and Indigenous beliefs as a way of finding peace. Along with her female partner, she built a therapy practice, making use of every spiritual element that aided her and others. The road was bumpy, and she found that women of color in same-sex relationships were not welcomed everywhere. To do good works—and finally live on her own terms—she effectively overcame bigotry.

An engrossing, cathartic account of empathy and success through determination and confidence.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022   |    ISBN: 978-0-578-38315-6  |   Page Count: 264    | Publisher: From Trauma to Triumph  |   Review Posted Online: June 13, 2022