Category Archives: joy

Three Stages of Love

In my experience, there are three basic stages of Love. And they usually occur in this order:

love agaveBe loving. Simply stated: Love others and love yourself, through your words, thoughts, and actions.

Be lovable. This is not about being cute; it’s about being receptive to love from someone else. Surprisingly, this can be a real challenge for many, but I’m here to say you are 100% WORTHY of love, exaclty as you are.

Be Love. Do 1 and 2.

Ok, so #3 is one of those “wisdom statements” I referred to in an earlier post. It’s simple and true…and somewhat airy. Here’s how to make it accessible:

Let your actions, decisions, words and thoughts come from the space of love inside you. If you embody 1 and 2, you will “Be Love.” In other words, allow the idea of Love as an energy, a thought, a feeling, to guide you in your day. Use it as a barometer against which you measure your decisions. If, for example, something is out of alignment with Love (like gossip, for instance), you have a choice. You can always choose something new, something different. Always.

Some practical questions you can ask yourself as you choose to Be Love:

  • Is this thought coming from a loving space?
    (If not, where is it coming from? Fear? Anger? Hurt? – How can you change it?)
  • Does this action/decision support my intention of being loving and lovable?
    To myself? To others? (<– see what I did there? Put yourself first.)
  • What is the loving thing to do in this situation?

Life can be hard. Life can be a struggle. This is not about being perfect. If, for example, you “mess up” and say something out of fear or hurt (or exhaustion), love yourself back into alignment by apologizing, or making a different choice the next time, or whatever you think would be a more loving response than what you did. (I speak from experience here.)

This is all about engaging in the process and allowing yourself to make different choices, being more open to a life filled with Love, both giving and receiving it. Because Love is the essence behind everything you are, and everything you desire (not to mention: creativity, prosperity, and joy!).

To live life as a dog.

For dogs there is no yesterday and there is no tomorrow.
There is only now, and there is only love.

Evening watch
Love of food.
Love of sleep.
Love of play.
Love of walks.
Love of their owner.


And seemingly, all of these things bring joy. Yes, I think dogs “worry” when they sense their owner is sick or anxious. Yes, they sense fear… but they don’t seem to carry it forward. What happened yesterday isn’t true for today, and won’t be true for tomorrow. “This morning” doesn’t necessarily exist when it’s dinnertime.

So, how can we live life more like a dog? Well, I think the greatest gifts the dog can teach us are these: joy, loyalty and rest – all of which are unrestrained. Unconditional.

When you watch a dog at play – it seems joyful. They’re not concerned about whether their stomach is sucked in, or their tail is long enough or what breed they are. There is a ball and there is someone throwing it for them. Joy.

Watching a service dog stand by its owner in the midst of complete chaos, and only have eyes for its owner’s needs, is the purest example of loyalty I’ve ever seen. It transcends the animal nature that lies within and demonstrates a capacity of service and loyalty beyond measure.

And rest. Dogs know how to rest. They know how to seek their own space in the middle of a family event when they are tired. No apologies, no guilt, simply rest. Their bodies need it, so they do it.

Of course, all these things are encompassed in an animal that knows how to give and receive unconditional love. They don’t keep a running tally in their mind of when you last gave them a treat and whether or not you deserve a lick or two. They simply love, without strings and without expectations.

So, although our colloquial language isn’t there yet, I think it would be quite an honor to be referred to as a “dog.” Instead of being derogatory, I’d allow it to mean I had achieved some measure of peace and greatness, that I was a good friend and companion. And above all, that I knew how to live and love with a joyful heart, unconditionally. Woof!

Passion Play

‘Tis the season. Yes, it’s that time of year where things shine a little brighter, and emotions run a little higher. Both good and bad. We’re just coming off the Thanksgiving holiday, which was hopefully a time for pause and reflection. But what about the other 364 days of the year? Why do we limit gratitude to one day only? What would happen if we started off each day focused on the things that bring us joy?

I’ve recently rediscovered one of my passions in life: music. I can’t tell you how much this remembering has changed my very core. I am happier, significantly happier. If I feel stressed, down, tired, upset or emotional – I put on music. I sing and dance around my house, and I remember the pure joy of doing something with passion. And I feel grateful. I’ve learned that the two go hand in hand, actually. Gratitude is not a solemn emotion, to be expressed seriously and with quiet meditation. Gratitude is joy-full! When we feel gratitude, we tend to feel happier. It simply makes sense. And the key to unlocking a perpetual stream of joy and gratitude in your life is reclaiming your passion.

It doesn’t matter what your passion is. Personally, I believe we all have many. What matters is that you remember one. Just one, and then you run with it. You incorporate it into your life in little ways, and you simply enjoy the pleasure of it. I think what you’ll find is that everything around you becomes a little easier, a little brighter and you will feel brighter, too, even during the “stress” of the holiday season. In fact, you might be able to ward off any stress if you make the decision to have a little dose of passion every day, starting now. For me, it’s music. It’s easy, and yet I had forgotten all about it. Now, all I have to do is pop in a CD, open my mouth, take a breath and sing! And voila – instant joy, which leads to pure gratitude. Ahhh. . . .

This week, as things start to pick up and get into full swing with family, parties, obligations, etc. take a moment to remind yourself what it means to feel joy and gratitude, and then know that one key that unlocks the door to those feelings is to experience your life with a daily dose of passion.