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Excerpted from Finding Joy by Charlotte Kasl. Copyright 1995 by Charlotte Kasl. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 

"If you feel down, blue, depressed, or tend to be hard on yourself, take time to remember the good things you have done for yourself, the risks you have taken, the ways you have survived."

  Charlotte Kasl, Finding Joy, Part 2

When we allow ourselves to feel joy, we create an inner sanctuary, a home for the soul that allows us to feel safe to laugh, cry, be angry, question, and think for ourselves. When we create this home for truth and delight, we feel a sense of inner strength. Unkind remarks and difficult situations lose their ability to singe our souls or tear at our hearts because we are no longer candles in the wind. Rather, we become the fire of life itself--a being, an identity that cannot be blown about or extinguished by external events because we accept all of who we are.

Remember Joy and Find Hope

Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul 
And sings the tune without the words 
And never stops, at all. 

--Emily Dickinson

Joy brings hope and hope brings joy. Imagine joy as a memory dwelling within you--a bird perched on your soul singing a song of hope. Let yourself know it is always there. Sometimes we lose contact with that voice and feel despair. In those times, if we can remember that the potential for joy lives within us, we may regain hope and find the strength to take steps to improve our lives.

If you feel down, blue, depressed, or tend to be hard on yourself, take time to remember the good things you have done for yourself, the risks you have taken, the ways you have survived. Remember times when you experienced contentment or joy. Then hold these images in your heart and tell yourself you can re-create them. You have the power to create happiness in your life--the potential for joy is within you. You might ask yourself what in your life right now blocks you from feeling joy, and consider what you need to do to get on a path toward greater happiness.

The bird of joy that "perches in the soul" never stops singing--we just stop listening. When we can hear the promise of joy within us, we have more power to come alive to our desire for life.

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