Dear Joshua,

I am back with a new question. I hope that’s ok? This morning I was reading A Radical Change and saw that you mention that we should always do things with joy and acceptance. You gave the example of a job Gary didn’t enjoy when he was younger and said that he could have done it with joy. I struggle a bit with this concept.

For me joy is extreme happiness but I fail to see how I can dislike something and still feel joy. I know this is my limited perspective so could you elaborate a little for me? Is it linked to the idea that what is is perfect and that it is better to choose a “positive” thought? Sorry for asking so many questions. Reading your books really fascinate me and I feel that I am expanding and learning. Thanks again.

All my love,

Dear Fabienne,

Joy is feeling good. You could describe it as extreme happiness, or bliss, or fun, or any positive emotion. Joy is one of those words we throw around to explain the feeling of positive emotion, and ease, and going with the flow, etc. When you enjoy something, you feel joy. When you do not enjoy something, you feel negative emotion. What’s the difference between the two? Must you always enjoy something in order to feel joy, or could you look at any situation and find things to enjoy? Doesn’t this all lie within your potential to pick and choose? Why would you do anything you don’t enjoy? Why would you not enjoy anything you choose to do?

Joy is a choice. You can choose to see things in a way that allow you to feel joy, or you can choose to see anything in a way that gives you an excuse not to feel joy. Joy was your baseline feeling when you were a child. When you were quite young, you enjoyed just about everything. It is only when you got older that you chose to enjoy some things and dislike others. But why did this happen? Isn’t it enjoyable to find more things to be joyful about or do you enjoy the drama around the things you don’t like? Do you see how you enjoy everything anyway?

You enjoy laughing, and good company, and good food, and good entertainment, and interesting work, and interesting reading, and fun times. You also enjoy gossiping, and drama, and other things you would not admit to. You really enjoy it all but you are so good at labeling things good and bad and right and wrong that you cut yourself off from the natural joy that surrounds you. You focus on the unwanted until it makes you feel bad and you use this as your excuse not to feel joy. That’s alright, you get to decide which emotions you enjoy after all.

But if you want to feel more joy, then simply stop finding excuses to feel less joy. Admit that you enjoy challenge and contrast and the stuff of life. But do not believe you are without joy. You enjoy it all.

If there is something you do not like, give it not attention and give it no power. Ignore it for all we care. There is no purpose in giving anything a second thought unless you find enjoyment in it. Remember now, what we have said. If you find yourself paying attention to anything (wanted or unwanted) it’s because you find some joy in it. You enjoy it or you would not be interested in it, focused on it, or attracted to it.

You are loved.
We are Joshua