I’ve been reading a lot about gratitude and joy lately and investigating this idea that joy happens when we’re in a place where we’re willing to acknowledge it. Feeling joy doesn’t mean things are going “perfectly” and everything’s coming up roses. It means we’re invested in looking for the good, creating more of it and going after the awesome.

This Marianne Williamson quote her book A Woman’s Worth has been particularly inspiring:

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”

My fabulous friend India gifted me the gratitude jar pictured above. My job is to place one piece of paper in it each day listing what I’m grateful for…now through the end of 2014. On December 31st (or close to it!), myself and three of my girlfriends with jars will sit down together and re-read our gratitude notes. We’re also trying to put concert tickets and other little items inside.

The very act of doing that has really challenged my perceptions. Sometimes the most difficult experiences (breakdowns) can lead to the greatest breakthroughs and become huge catalysts for change. When you go hunting for gratitude, it’s impossible not to realize how much your life already rocks.

So, yes, we can allow ourselves to taste and savor the joy in our lives already, and then we’re more likely to pull in positive experiences, people, expand our horizons and even challenge our happiness set point. (Oh.my.god. Life can get THIS good?)

AKA…I can follow my passion + make an awesome salary? I can provide service + in the same turn fill up my own cup in a powerful way?

I’ve started to wrap my mind around this idea a little more lately….What if I’m pushing away positive experiences because I don’t believe things can get that good? Oh hey, limiting beliefs.

I definitely have this fear that when things get awesome, something’s going to fall apart on me. I’ve felt that fear come up a lot lately. Recently, I truly felt like things were going pretty awesome, and then boom…I felt like a pivotal part of that was taken away from me. Re-frame: Usually that happens because life wants to bring in something awesome-er. 

But that requires faith and trust…and the ability to look for joy in the simple moments and a commitment to moving forward. So look for your joy, it’s there!

Three things:

1.) On my concert radar: First Aid Kit at the Paradise in June and Sara Bareilles at the former Bank of America Pavilion in July.

2.) I started acupuncture this week as a nod to post break up self care. I loved the way my acupuncturist described the heart meridian, “The strength of the heart meridian depends on our ability to carry calm joy.”

3.) This quote from “Goodbye in Her Eyes” from Zac Brown Band, “He’s gonna love the way you shine. So did I.