Choose Joy with Rebecca Butler

woman doing yoga poses

In this Conversations with Smart People interview, yoga instructor Rebecca Butler shares her optimism, positive energy, and candor. Choose Joy is her personal mantra–and it’s certainly contagious.

Some might argue that joy is a lot like love. It isn’t something that just happens on its own, at least not consistently. It’s a conscious choice that takes effort and attention.

Have you ever felt the powerful energy of someone who lives unapologetically true to who they are? Those who live boldly don’t ask for permission to do so – without trying to hide their imperfections? Meet Rebecca Butler, who shares her love and wisdom through yoga and writing, where her authenticity shines.

Through her own personal life struggles she was eventually able to begin loving and embracing herself exactly the way she is.

I asked Rebecca to share some of her strategies for deliberately living a life filled with joy, and here are some of her thoughts.

Q: The words “Choose Joy” are very powerful. What led you to adopt this simple mantra (or do you even consider it a mantra)?

Rebecca: Choose Joy is absolutely my mantra. The words came to me in a dream in 2012. My mom passed early that year and that summer we were visiting some friends at the beach. My husband and I had a particularly grueling argument one evening. During my dream that night my mom visited me. She was a brilliant, zooming being of light. She was intertwined with another, whom I instinctually knew to be her best friend, who is also deceased, and they were chanting “Choose Joy, Choose Joy, Choose Joy, Choose Joy, Choose Joy…” Over and over as they zinged and bounced all over the room. I could feel their exuberance and jubilation. And the message was intended, not explicitly said, but rather, I just felt it: Honey, you can leave him; you can stay with him. But either way, Choose Joy.

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Q: How do you personally choose joy in the context of day to day life (examples)?

Rebecca: When I am tempted to go to a dark place, snap at my children, berate myself for eating a cookie, argue with my husband nonsensically, I stop, take a deep breath and look to my wrist. My students have bestowed not one but two silver bracelets upon me stamped with the message, Choose Joy. Often times, I am then able to make a better choice, a more loving choice. However, I am not perfect. Sometimes I still slip and behave in a less than kind way. The important thing is that I always pick myself back up, eventually, and try again.

Q: How do you overcome the world’s tendency toward negativity?

Rebecca: The world is negative? Hmmmm, didn’t notice. What’s funny is that is only a half joke to me. Over the years, I have become very cognizant about what I consume, and I don’t just mean in a physical way. I mean from an energetic perspective as well. I am careful of what I ingest from a spiritual perspective. So I watch very little television, read very few newspapers/magazines, listen only to music that uplifts me in the moment (I put no parameters on what that might be) and read only things that inspire me. I spend time each day creating my life vision and what I want my life to feel like. I see myself in a loving home with my family feeling joy and kindness. I feel myself exhilarated with my career and my daily pursuits. I make a conscious effort on a daily basis to connect with the Divine and offer my services. One of my favorite questions is, How may I serve? I work to keep my chakras (7 main energy centers within the body that connect us to the spiritual and the Earth) aligned, free of constrictions and healthy so that I may metabolize Universal Life Force without struggle, therefore allowing me to freely manifest the Divine. My world is not negative. Not in the slightest.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who decided to begin choosing joy, but isn’t sure where to start?

Rebecca: Listen to Energy Anatomy by Caroline Myss. It’s an audio lecture. She is one of my greatest teachers. The lecture itself is 9.5 hours long. I’ve listened to it many times over. She is remarkably witty and funny. And still she knows how to empower you to make choices in your life that will lead to meaningful and sustainable change.

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You can follow more of Rebecca’s inspiring wisdom at The Sanctuary Yoga Room or follower her on Twitter (#choosejoy).

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