What’s the secret to finding the joy in life?
First published in the Santa Barbara News-Press 12/26/18
My Great Grandma Johnson was born in 1888. At 99 years old with wavy red hair and lots of jewelry, she felt joy hearing that she looked in her 70s. She told stories of her family’s covered wagon being held up and robbed by Native Americans in Minnesota, as a child she was ordered to stay up all night shooing flies off a baby’s corpse and later went on to bury her 44-year-old daughter, my father’s mother. In her 90’s Grandma Johnson traveled often with her sister from Studio City, Ca by bus to Las Vegas to play the slots where she was frequently lucky. She had no qualms of cheating me (a 5th grader at the time) in game of gin rummy literally with cards up her sleeve. She bragged she never was sick a day in her life and died at 99 taking a nap from her very first headache. I remember vividly as a four-year-old meeting her in the hallway between bedrooms. She was wearing a robe and had a look on her face of complete astonishment. She told me she had a vision, not a dream, of a crystal world where she had met her daughter and found peace and love. At that moment, she reached into her robe pocket and gasped, bringing out a large shining crystal in her palm for both of us to witness. She held it to her heart, smiled large and breathed deep, tears streaming down her cheeks. Even as a young child, I knew something amazing had happened – a glass rock appeared from something like a dream. She was psychic too, many years before it materialized, she predicted the house and farm I would grow up at. “If there is nothing you can do about it, no point in worrying” She would say time and time again when someone complained.
My maternal Grandpa Minervini was a Marine Captain in WWII at Guadalcanal. He was responsible for many men’s lives. He told me that God, the memory of sailing and words of great poets all helped him through the trauma and that each day he knew which men would die. He could sense it in their faces when they awoke and despite his feelings, he would try to raise their spirits only to find some dead by nightfall. Long after war while we played outside, not one plane would fly overhead unidentified. Making it a game he would throw me over his shoulders like he has done many men in war, carrying me laughing and kicking to safety. He ran one of the biggest electrical businesses in NY City, cured himself naturally of prostate cancer, became pen pals with Nelson Mandela and a loved a good shot of vodka.
Why is it that people like this can go through great trauma and still find the joys in life while others fall into deep depression and are debilitated by memories of the past? Since a young age, I have studied this myself. Recently I have been privy to some information that has conceptualized what I already have known. The secret is all in the heart and our connection to spirit. What we do wrong is struggle with emotions like despair, guilt, shame, anger, hold them rotting in our gut and try to will them away.
What is best to do is breath them up with passion to the heart and feel. Once at the heart, it can feel awesome or it can hurt like clenching stabbing pain, or it can feel like dead space or boredom. I personally have felt all of those. It doesn’t matter, just keep with it, and conjure up elevated emotions like joy and gratitude. Try watching baby animals, my Giant Flemish Rabbit Clyde or people smiling. Once you feel slightly happy, a magnetic energy is created lifting your vision to the top of your head, and then out to spirit. When this happens, you are more at a place to transform your emotions, change your life, manifest what you want or just be present for a moment without stress. It sounds so easy like gazing at the stars or watching the formations of clouds. Why not?
It is a much more elaborate scientifically proven skill that Dr. Joe Dispenza teaches, but it’s a process that many people do naturally. Some people are just wired from birth to believe in possibility, to believe in health, to know that this life is supposed to bring us joy and that order comes after chaos.
My Grandma and Grandpa believed in themselves and that it is a gift to be alive. They believed they were connected to something greater than themselves. They stimulated their minds, found joy in the present moment and no matter what life threw at them they always believed in miracles.
Life is an accumulation of our thoughts and choices. Be aware and love into the coming year.