Stop chasing butterflies...

“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder…” — Henry David Thoreau

More often than not, we tend to base our happiness on how things are going at the moment. Our moods are determined by circumstance. When circumstances are right — when payday finally gets here; when the account is secured; when our employees are getting along with one another and we’re all in synch toward a certain goal — we’re happy. 

When things don’t go as planned (which can sometimes feel like the norm) well, that’s when we lash out, get down on ourselves, or work ourselves into a frenzy for a quick fix. We find ourselves chasing circumstances that will allow us to breathe easy and perhaps bring back that sense of relief or security — if only for a short time.  But here’s the thing: chasing happiness — like trying to catch that butterfly — is futile. Our search for it will never stop. It is elusive, and quite frankly out of our control.

So, what’s the alternative to chasing happiness? What path can we take that will actually work for us — that will truly nourish our soul? That’s where joy comes in. 

Joy is defined as “the emotional and spiritual state of deep & stable happiness, peace, & groundedness.” Fundamentally, joy is an “inside-out” state of being as opposed to happiness being an “outside-in” state. Corrie Ten Boom once said, “happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings — it’s something we make inside ourselves.” 

That is joy.

And since joy comes from within, we do not have to chase after it at all; rather, we cultivate it — like a well-tended garden that radiates beauty for all who enter into it. Even those elusive butterflies…

How will you cultivate joy this week?