Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Joie de Vivre Workbook

Joie de Vivre [zhwaduh vee-vruh]

That the French should have a phrase for "a delight in being alive" reflects a lot about the way they view the world. I suppose if you are a citizen of France, you cannot help but be delighted, what with the abundant artistic, aesthetic and gastronomic delights at every turn. Joie de vivre is a national trait of the French, much like hospitality comes naturally to us Pinoys.

The French may have a culture ingrained in joie de vivre, but I believe that every human being has a capacity for this cheerful enjoyment of living. And the good news is, you need not have the Eiffel Tower on your skyline to experience joie de vivre. Joie de vivre is not a reaction to the beauty of surroundings or circumstances. It is a reaction to the beauty that is IN us.

Have you ever had those moments when you thought, "Am I really here?" I have those moments now and then, usually upon waking up or while I'm in the shower. I can't get over the fact that I am here. That I exist. That I am alive. Isn't it mind-boggling how we came to be? That we see, taste, smell, hear and feel things?
Sometimes I can't wrap my head around it.

The thought of being alive inevitably leads to the thought of being dead someday.  That seemingly morbid thought does not fill me with dread - but with two contradicting emotions : a sense of peace and a sense of urgency.  The sense of peace comes from the thought that all my emotional and psychic issues are a waste of (life)time - time better spent joyfully appreciating the gifts of the present. The sense of urgency  comes from the thought that I only have so much time to make the most of this life - I must take advantage of my youth to do the things that my heart and soul call me to do.

This existential revelation of mortality is what has spawned the desire to pursue joie de vivre. It is living life wide awake, taking in every experience, every encounter, every surge of pleasure and pain, and declaring,
"Ah, it's good to be alive!"

But I believe that joie de vivre is not just about posting shout-outs to the world. Joie de vivre is deeply rooted in connecting with one's core truths. Joie de vivre is incited and nurtured by taking the following steps:

1. Identifying and applying your unique strengths and talents
2. Appreciating and nurturing your life relationships
3. Imagining and pursuing dreams that are deeply rooted in your joys
4. Integrating your body, mind, heart and soul by consciously taking care of each of them

The workbook I have developed aims to guide the participant through these steps through structured introspection exercises, creative expression and interaction with fellow participants. We all have our moments of reflection. What this workbook does is it organizes your thoughts and personal revelations and helps you connect the dots.

It is my hope that accomplishing this workbook invigorates and moves the participant to inspired action to make the most out of this life - and truly experience joie de vivre.

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