Henri Nouwen: Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy, and keep choosing it every day.

- Henri Nouwen

What is practice? It is the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use. 

In my experience, practice entails four essential elements: It needs to be daily (or as daily as possible), deliberate, conscious and committed. 

Joy is the pure and simple delight in being alive.

What does this mean? It means that every day -- no matter what happens, no matter how we feel, or how busy we are -- we need to do our best make the commitment to show up to joy.

For me, this may mean that I go out and see the birds, have a wonderful conversation with a friend, listen to an audiobook in the car, or blast a song on the radio and sing along. I might drive a back road, cook a delicious meal, or just take time to smell the flowers.

I do whatever it takes to reconnect with the joy that makes me feel present to my heart, to the hearts of others, and to the Great Heart of the Whole Wide World!

But I can't do it alone. So, for all of you who feel like you wish you felt more joy in your life, I invite you to join me on this journey -- to create your own practices and share them with me and with your friends, family, colleagues, children and loved ones. 

Joan Chittister exhorts us: "Find the thing that stirs your heart and make room for it. Life is about the development of the self to the point of unbridled joy.” 

Sometimes it feels counterintuitive or even selfish to seek joy in such tumultuous times. But these are the times we need joy the most. Joy takes out out of our fear-based thoughts and plants the seeds of love and connection and wonder in our hearts, so that we can blossom out a beautiful new world of Love.