As I walked into the women’s locker room to prepare for my swim, I heard a beautiful singing voice. I looked around to make sure I was at my neighborhood gym and not my neighborhood bar when I saw a woman with the word “staff” written on her t-shirt. She was wearing headphones and belting out in song as she folded a huge pile of towels. It wasn’t only her singing that caught me by surprise but her passion, her smile, and how totally in the moment she was.

I smiled, put on my bathing suit, and walked to the pool.

Thirty minutes later, as I returned to the locker room to shower, she was still there, singing with all her heart.

Two days later, I walked into the locker room again (proud of being consistent with my commitment to swimming three times a week!), and the same woman was there. This time, she was collecting used towels. Again, her headphones were on, and she was singing with a look of pure happiness on her face.

I got her attention, and when she took the headphones off, I thanked her for bringing me joy every time I walked into the locker room. She seemed surprised by the compliment and accepted it with a big smile.

I have noticed many other staff members at the gym doing the exact same job but without the excitement that this woman exhibits. Isn’t it interesting how different people experience the same situation in totally different ways?

What about you, beloved? What sparks your joy?

I’m not talking about taking a trip around the world or buying a fancy new pair of shoes. I’m talking about the little stuff in life. Does going to work spark your joy? Does folding the laundry spark your joy? Doing the dishes?

Can a simple routine activity spark your joy?

We have all known someone who outwardly seems to have the perfect life but is, in reality, deeply unhappy. And then there are the people who seem to have nothing but are completely satisfied.

Joy is a choice.

In her book Spark Joy, Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo writes, “The real tragedy is to live your entire life without anything that brings you joy and never even realize it.”

Kondo suggests using the question, “What sparks your joy?,” to guide you in deciding whether to discard or keep objects in your home.

Let’s take this principle and apply it to life in general to declutter unhappiness from our metaphorical shelves, not just our physical ones.

Ask it, write it on a sticky note, post it in your space, create an art piece: What sparks your joy?

One of the women I work with has struggled with depression for many years. She tried all the conventional ways to treat it, including Prozac and Zoloft. Her depression got better but was not lifted completely. She learned to give Reiki to herself and started coaching with me. Then she began to focus on the question, “What sparks your joy?,” and realized for the first time in her life that she could stop fixating on how to cure her depression and start trying to experience more joy.

There are five basic emotions:

Anger, Sadness, Fear, Love
and Joy

Depression is too much sadness. But it’s also a lack of joy.
Did you know that Prozac and Zoloft reduce depression but they don’t add joy? 

Throughout the day, pay attention to what sparks your joy and what takes it away.

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