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Monday, November 5

Welcome to Going With The Good – Fourth Quarter Joy, just in time for the holiday frenzy when things can get a little out-of-hand. But that’s okay because the next two months are going to be all about seeing the upcoming events and experiences in their entirety—the good, the bad and the ugly—and  then deliberately deciding to go with the good view of things.

To clarify, going with the good is not for the purpose of being a good person (though that is definitely a great thing), but it is more about how we perceive the experiences in our life. How we react to life circumstances is a phenomena captured perfectly in a movie I once saw in which a character finds himself in a tough spot. He can either (a) help the bad guy or (b) get roughed up first and then help the bad guy, a situation the bad guy helpfully spells out:

This can go down one of two ways: it can go down hard or it can go down easily. What will it be?

Life is quite a lot like that: things are going to happen anyway, so how it goes down has a lot to do with which option we choose. And right now, we happen to be sitting in a position of advantage as we head into this program. About 1,000 people spent the past year researching and tracking joy in The Joy Jar Project, the previous Total Health program. Their discoveries about the nature of joy will come in very handy, which I will be sharing throughout the upcoming weeks.

For example, a jolt of joy can turn a day around, something that happened to me just last week. For no exceptionally good reason, on that day I was in a funk. Then I walked into the canteen at the Home Office in Brewer where I work and found a very sad person standing very close to a vending machine. I immediately saw the situation: a bag of chips, for no good reason, was hanging suspended in place despite the fact that the mechanism had engaged and the chips were free to go. Because the sad person’s hands were on the machine it was clear she’d been unsuccessfully trying to rock the chips free.  So, I immediately added my hands to the effort. At first nothing budged, and I thought maybe vending machines are now bolted down. Just when we were both about to give it up, our combined muscle managed to tip the machine ever so slightly back and when it rocked forward the chips dropped! We both shrieked with joy and high-fived. And for the rest of the day I was high on having helped a person out. With one simple move, my day had been changed for the good.

Which is exactly what you can look forward to this week, because our first assignment involves helping someone out which, magically and mysteriously, happens to feel really, really good. So, have fun choosing the good you are going to bring someone and enjoying the good you will feel after. The full assignment is spelled out in this week’s log, which is attached.

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Okay, here we go! Thank you for coming along on this magical mystery tour. It’s going to be a good ride.
Elizabeth Clayton
Total Health wellness specialist