I used to joke that I could be happy in a cardboard box. Usually that’s true, but being human I find times when I’d rather do just about anything than deal with the problem or situation at hand. I had one of those last week!

My dryer died. By the time I realized it was the culprit, however, it had permeated half my clothes and nearly all of my towels with an ungodly smell. I paid for repairs only to find out I needed a new one. I bought tons of baking soda and vinegar and for a week my house looked like a laundromat with my clothing and towels hanging in every doorway to dry as I washed and rewashed them to get the smell out. It certainly wasn’t a hardship, but honestly, it wasn’t the most enJOYable process either 🙂

The angels, ever-present, reminded me to enjoy the journey! I knew they were right so I got creative and added some tea tree and lemon grass oil to create a kinder experience while washing out the burn rubber smell. I thanked God for the appliance store a mile from my house and the fact that they upgraded my model and gave me a discount! I reminded myself that I was lucky to have electricity and appliances rather than having to rub my clothing on a rock in a river like a large portion of the world still does… Suddenly it wasn’t a problem at all. I went back to my joy.

So many times in life the angels have had to remind me that the joy is in the journey, not in only the destinations we look forward to. There are a million things I would have preferred to do, but that was my present moment.

I’ll never forget a night that really taught me to embrace joy in the midst of life’s unpleasant circumstances. At the time I had two dogs who caught a very resistant form of mites. The angels (through my friend Summer Bacon) gave me a recipe for getting rid of them that involved washing the dogs, and greasing them from head to toe with apricot kernel oil (suffocates the mites). I had to leave them in the bathroom with the oil on for at least an hour. Meanwhile I had to sprinkle borax on the carpets and let it sit there for an hour. I had to wash everything they’d touched with detergent and an apple cider vinegar rinse – comforters, clothes, you name it. I even had to clean the walls with vinegar.

When at long last I was ready to vacuum up the borax –  greased dogs still in the bathroom, and the umpteenth load of wash in the dryer – the bottom roller on the vacuum broke! I sat down and cried, prayed, and then the angels showed up and gave me a vision of how I would view this scene from the afterlife. The absolutely comedy of it hit me full force. I started laughing till I thought my sides would split. Still howling with laughter, I got the borax up with that little one inch hose and then went, finally, to wash the dogs . Upon opening the door I saw two greased fur-balls who – since they were no longer tortured by itching –  were enjoying themselves immensely, running up and down the bathroom greasing all the walls up to three feet!

I started laughing again! It was like It was watching a comedy and starring in it all at the same time. I dragged the front end of my husky wolf in the tub, then the back end. Meanwhile the front end got out! I finally clamped him between my knees and got the entire wolf in the tub whereupon he blissfully surrendered to the warm water and liquid detergent, so happy about the fight he gave me! Later that night as I snuggled with two clean dogs in my clean house I don’t think I could have felt more joyful or more humored! It was a great lesson!

I do realize that there are far more difficult situations where joy is much more elusive. When someone I thought was a dear friend said some really ugly things about me behind my back last year, I found compassion easily, but it took me awhile to rediscover my joy. I had to use every ounce of willpower to focus on the soul-level love. I had to celebrate how far I’d grown and realize that life was simply sorting itself out. I had to focus on celebrating all the kind and loving souls in my life. It took several weeks but I determinedly focused on all that was good in my life and exponentially joy returned. I wasn’t about to let someone else’s insecurity and pain pollute my life. I lost a friend, but I became more powerfully able to manage my own state of being.

So this week when Ilina the joy angel showed up I asked her to share a few tips for all of us regarding how to be joyful in life’s tougher situations:

“What about being joyful when someone hurts you?” Give thanks they have revealed their true nature and so by the contrast you can ask for better! Get joyful imagining your improved relationships in the future!

“What if someone you love dies?” “Love yourself enough to grieve when you need, but also think about how deeply you love. Think about how happy they are in heaven! Sit with the good memories. Invite them to transmit their joy and breathe with them every day until you feel it!”

“What if someone has a huge bill they don’t know how to pay or some other unresolved stressful situation?”
“The sun still rises beautifully. The birds sing. They have loved ones or loved things or loved places. They can breathe and change their focus to what is joyful, and of course then they’ll be guided!

So today as I rewash and dry yet one more mountain of laundry I will give thanks that I can do it in the comfort of a home I love, in between writing newsletters queuing Facebook posts and answering emails. I’ll enjoy the smell of clean towels, take Zen time while I fold them in silence and remember that I can think about how loved we all are!

I think I’ll even remind myself that the Divine lives in my towels and treat the Presence to a conscious, kind, and loving folding!

Here are some pointers this week to help you connect with Joy in your life…

1. Call in a Joy Angel

Whether you ask for Ilina, who appeared in this weeks newsletter, or just a “Joy angel,” sit and breathe and call in one of the many spirits of joy.

For the time you are breathing, be willing to set aside your problems and denser energies and be like a child –  open, breathing, receiving, and surrendered. Notice how you feel.

When you start to feel something good in your body, mind, or energy field, breathe into it and see if you can allow the feeling to amplify. Do this several times a week. Think of it as a “joy tune up” for your spirit. Angels can resonate us into higher energies if we’re willing to breathe and receive.

2. Be grateful

There are plenty of reasons to be disgruntled in life, but there are equally as many things (if not more) to be grateful for. While acknowledging your feelings is important when you’re not happy, return to gratitude as soon as you can.

Give thanks for every small thing you can think about. Suddenly the energies of joy begin to activate within you. Life is a gift.

3. Imagine your Joy

The brain doesn’t distinguish between real or imagined events. If you’re not joyful now, imagine a scenario where you are. Better yet, bring elements of that scenario into your life now to start enjoying its vibration.

For example, if you can’t afford a beach vacation, lay by a stream, a pool, or simply out in the sunshine. Play tropical music. Make fish with pineapple salsa (recipe below) or have a Mai tai!

If you want to see your kids but can’t, get on skype and talk about all the fun things you’ll do when you can visit. There are always ways to experience the joyful energies of your bigger dreams, right here and now.

4. Make the mundane tasks more joyful

While I am completely guilty of wanting to rush through mundane tasks to get to the “more fun” stuff, the angels remind me always to slow down and enjoy everything. Can I view washing my dishes as an act of devotion to the divine? Can I brush my teeth as an act of self love for the temple this spirit lives within?

I frequently change “I have to” into “I get to.” I get to clean house means I have a house to love. I get to write my newsletter and connect with all of you. I get to do my taxes because, thank God, I’ve got a good job. That slight shift reminds me how lucky I am to have the tasks I must do. There are many on earth who would gladly do our chores for the lives we lead.

You can also get humanly creative to add more joy to your tasks… Play wonderful music. Reward yourself. Work with friends. There are creative ways to add or find joy in any circumstance.

Here are a few examples:

While sitting in line at the car emissions place a few years back, in 100 degrees with the windows down, I was howling with laughter because I was listening to a comedian on the radio. Everyone else in line was cheered up too!

I think of vacuuming as exercise! The bonus is a clean house 🙂

While weeding my yard a few weeks ago I focused on the wonderful smells and the clean air.

While doing my taxes, I open the windows, play beautiful music, and celebrate feeling organized.

When people are cruel, I send them light and immediately do something nice for myself to counteract the poison. I spend time appreciating my good life and all I have going on until I feel compassion for their pain, and lucky to be me.

Sometimes you have to get really creative, and really disciplined with your thoughts to focus on joy in the tougher times. I takes practice, but it can be achieved… and it sure feels a lot better!

The more you can open to joy and the more you can focus on it, the more you’ll experience!

Bliss be unto you this week… no matter what is going on.

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