Practical Spirituality: LOVE, EXPRESS, enJOY!

By Rev. Marla Sanderson

A friend and I were discussing this month’s subject, JOY, and wondered about the difference, if any, between Joy and Love. He suggested,

“Maybe joy is the delight we feel when we express our Love!”


But when I say “Love” I’m talking about the unconditional kind—not the kind of love that carries more needs and demands than anyone can ever meet.

To me, Unconditional Love is feeling good—about you, about me, and about everything else. Feeling good about you, no matter what you do; feeling good about me, no matter what someone else does or says; and feeling good about “what is,” no matter what “what is” is.

We must be willing to feel good about WHAT IS—to love without conditions. To free ourselves from our own limiting ideas of what we need to be happy.

We will never get enough of anything from outside that will make us feel better for long if we don’t already feel good about ourselves. Have you noticed?

It’s one thing to FEEL Love; but the idea of showing it takes some people into fear and dread instead of a wonderful world of joy.

So what stops them? Why don’t they express their Love more freely?

Let’s look at our history on this subject:

As children, many of us were teased or humiliated, which stifled our creativity and self-expression.

We learned to shut off feelings so we’ll “never be hurt” again.

Resentments can keep us stuck in an unhappy state, still tied to the person or situation we blame for causing it.

And our reasons for not loving proliferate. There’s no end to the number of reasons we can think up to keep from loving those we consider unlovable.

Does that work for you? Me, neither. Let’s turn our inner Love into outer Joy!

In our teaching, life happens from the inside out. All the possibilities for life are there and you get to choose how you live it. It is natural to express yourself, and when you block self-expression, you suffer. Repressed feelings lead to all sorts of difficulties—illness, self-consciousness, relationship problems, and a wide range of unhealthy behaviors.
What can we do to express more joy?

Appreciation adds joy to our lives, especially when we notice the small things—the color of the sky, gliding along in the car, even your next breath. When you point your mind to the countless things there are to appreciate, you open to more joy. Why not give it a try? Really get into it and see how it makes you feel.

Creative people are usually joyful. Creativity IS self-expression. In fact, those who enjoy what they do are joyful by definition. That’s what “en-joy” means. Think of something you love to do. Even the thought of it makes you happy, doesn’t it?

Now go do it.

Marla Sanderson has been a student of spiritual practice for more than 35 years. She began as Assistant Director of The Next Step, a psychic and spiritual community in a New Mexico ghost town. As workshop leader, teacher, practitioner, and minister, she has led relationship and personal growth workshops, taught psychic development and meditation, Living Love, and the Science of Mind. Marla is available for workshops and speaking engagements. She recently founded the New Thought Center for Creative Living.

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