joy in 2018

Bring More Joy into Your Life in 2018

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Dr. Christine Carter, a sociologist, coach, and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, about how to bring more joy into your life this year. I hope you enjoy her blog piece based on the interview which I've included below. You can also read it on her blog site here. Dr. Carter also just released a great new book entitled The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work. I highly recommend it! Like a wise friend you can depend on, Dr. Carter takes you by the hand and, with gentle encouragement, shows you step by step how to create true well-being in your life. Honest, playful, unpretentious and chock …

joy in letting go

(Video) The Joy of Letting Go

One of the ten principles in the Awakening Joy course is "The Joy of Letting Go." Here's an excerpt from the 2014 course where I talk about the predicament of holding on that we often get caught in and the freedom that comes from learning to let go. Hope you enjoy it. Warm wishes ~James  To watch this video on YouTube, please visit:

Holding Hands Together: From Helplessness to Empowerment

Since the presidential election, no matter who your chosen candidate was, you will probably agree that we have entered uncharted territory as a new administration, with no prior experience in government, is running the most powerful country on the planet. There are many thrilled at the possible change of direction. But there are also many more who are filled with anxiety, despair and other negative emotions. Given the culture of “othering” so prevalent these days this is especially true for those so often marginalized: immigrants, People of Color, LGBT and other non-white, non-mainstream groups. For them this has been a traumatic experience, a seismic shakeup of reality. We’ve moved from “the audacity of hope” to a philosophy of fear and hatred. Whatever one’s …

choice makes all the difference

The Choice That Makes All the Difference

Have you ever said something hurtful in a moment of frustration and later felt awful about it with self-talk like: How could I have said that? What was I thinking?! Although it’s important to acknowledge and honor difficult emotions when they arise, if they run the show the results are usually disastrous. If fear or confusion is in the driver’s seat, you’re sure to be headed for trouble. That’s why integrity—acting in alignment with your values—is one of the essential components to awakening joy. A key to inner peace is learning the power of delayed gratification with regard to impulse control. We often don’t realize that we can choose a longer lasting well-being by foregoing the quick gratification of hastily acting …

self compassion does not mean playing it safe

Self Compassion Does Not Mean Playing It Safe

Most of us have high standards for ourselves. Whether wanting to gain recognition, feel like we belong, or achieve our goals, we can easily fall short of our ideal and in the process judge ourselves as being not good enough. Practiced over a lifetime, this striving for perfection hardens into self-judgment, unworthiness and low self-image. For the vast majority of people who come to meditation retreats this habit of self-criticism is a central issue. As someone who knows this problem first-hand I can attest to its debilitating power. When I was growing up I had a hard time just looking in the mirror. I wasn't cool. I was shy. I wasn’t buff. I was "pudgy cute." Though we didn't have a …

courage to open to the whole show

Working with the Hard Stuff: Courage to Open to the Whole Show

There is a Taoist teaching that life is made up of 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows. The more we see that both are a natural part of the fabric of life, the less we contract against the difficulties or hold on tightly to the delights. We can hold our challenging situations in a wider perspective that includes the blessings as well. In Buddhist philosophy, real happiness comes not by avoiding suffering but by understanding it deeply. In our willingness to be with it instead of protecting ourselves from it, we’re not adding another layer of contraction and fear to what is already here. We can then learn to meet our pain with compassion, fearlessness, wisdom and clarity. In learning to cultivate more …

letting in love

Letting in the Love

Here are two lovely clips in conversation with Linda Graham, author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, from 2013's Awakening Joy course. I hope you enjoy them. Letting in the Love In this conversation with Linda Graham I share my practice of letting in the love from all around us. This practice re-trains the mind and heart to shift the way we hold ourselves towards worthiness and seeing the goodness inside. Linda responds by showing how we can become reminders of that for each other. She also shares her personal main practices for awakening joy. To watch this video on Youtube, please visit: You Have a Choice In this video Linda makes the point that who we are is not …