When I look around in the world I wonder why there seems to be so much unhappiness. If you watch the news you know what I am talking about. But it’s not just the larger world events that I’m referring to. I see that many of us go through our days experiencing little true joy. Many here in the earth plane are not really living; they simply exist from day to day. It doesn’t have to be this way; there are countless ways to bring more joy into our lives. Today I want to focus on two ideas that can quickly turn things around.

One thing I have observed is how many of us have traded our joy for a false sense of security. We have allowed our fears, and the fears of those around us, to determine the direction of our lives. Instead, we should be listening intently to what our inner being is telling us, and then find the courage to act on it.

Recently a dear friend taught this lesson beautifully. Feeling the pressure to reduce financial concerns, he took a job for security knowing he would find no joy in the job. The first day of the new job he thought, “What am I doing? I won’t be happy in this job.” Rather than staying in the situation for a long period of time, he listened to his own voice, and left the job right away knowing that in the long run that was best for him. He told me that once he made the decision to walk away from the new job, he felt happiness and a sense of peace. I applaud his courage; this was surely not an easy thing to do.

I share this example not to say that we should all walk away from unhappy jobs or relationships on a whim, but to encourage us to listen to what our hearts are telling us about what will bring more joy in the long run. In some cases staying in a challenging situation is what will bring later rewards. We must learn to discern the difference. The answers always lie within. The point is to make decisions from your inner wisdom, not your fear. Acting from fear will never bring you joy.

The second idea I’d like to share is one that I have discovered in my own life recently. What I have been learning is that there is so much to be happy about if we are willing to see it. I have discovered that I can feel joy in the “little things” like riding my bike, helping Laura prepare a meal or playing ball with my dog, Spencer. If I’m paying attention, I realize that in those moments I’m happy, and that I feel at peace. It is up to each individual to find, and celebrate, the little moments of joy that are actually happening all the time.

I believe it’s important to note that joy and peace go hand-in-hand. It’s impossible to be at peace when I’m feeling unhappy or anxious about something. The cultivation of joy has a direct link to our ability to cultivate inner peace. It is like a circle, one begets the other. Joy and peace cannot share the same space with sadness and disharmony.

Where are you placing your attention? Do you think more about the woes in your life or the joys? This is really important to look at. You must be honest with yourself here.

Begin to change your focus, your thoughts and your actions toward what will bring you more joy, and in turn more peace. Doing this is important not just for us individually; it is important for our planet. A happy, peaceful person will not rage against his neighbor.

I urge us all to find what makes us happy, and then pursue it with passion. It is time to make the shift from existing to truly living joyfully and peacefully. What are we waiting for?