It is easy for life to become burdensome. Jobs and relationships that started out exciting can get stale and turn into a chore. When joy is no longer part of the equation we lose touch with the flow of life.
We forget what made these things so delightful and compelling, to begin with. Now is the perfect time to rekindle the spark of joy in everything we do.
Children are the ultimate barometer for the way we feel. Being around young people makes it clear whether we are living the good life or simply struggling to get by. The reason for this is that children are generally more in touch with their true nature. They intuitively know that joy is the best indicator that they are heading in the right direction.
Recently, I was working with a small group of young readers. The lesson was not going well. While I was doing my best to put on a good face, inwardly I was feeling burned out. I was struggling to find the energy to encourage and inspire the group. The look on the students’ faces was perfectly reflecting the way I was feeling and it turned into a negative feedback loop. Before long, I found myself getting short with them and had to take a step back. I started the students on an independent activity and took a moment to breathe.
After 20 years of teaching, the difference between being in the zone of inspiration and trying to force kids to learn is very evident. Recognizing this, I opened up to the students about how I had been feeling
. The students looked relieved and we all had a good laugh. It felt like the bubble had burst. The natural joy of teaching and learning started to flow. What had felt burdensome was once again something to be enjoyed.
This same thing can happen in any area of your life. If you are not feeling joy in your job or a certain relationship, do not worry. This does not mean you should jump ship or that you have somehow made a mistake in your choices. It is your job to bring your joy to whatever you are doing. In order to do this, you must take care of your mind and emotions. You must consciously steer your thoughts back into the flow of inspiration when you find yourself feeling burned out.
Like the lesson mentioned above, sometimes all it takes is being honest with yourself and the people around you. Rather than making it a personal problem, laugh at yourself for becoming so serious about everything. Remember, it is natural to feel joy.
As you direct your mind away from the thoughts that were causing you to feel stressed and focus on all that is going well, inspired energy will bubble up naturally. When you put joy back into your job and all your relationships, you will find greater success, stronger bonds, and plenty to cheer about.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also the co-host of “Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed” podcast on iTunes. For questions, comments, and ideas for future columns, send an email to EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org