• Sarita Parikh

Living with more joy and more humanity, every day

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

When we ask ourselves what do we want in life?, our first answers might vary--make a lot of money, be influential, raise great kids, look fabulous, and so on. But, after digging a bit and asking ourselves why we want those things, that is, what do we really want in life, almost all of us have the same answers: A sense of freedom, loving and trusting relationships, meaningful work, doing something that makes the world better, peace, joy, and being a part of something bigger than ourselves.

We want more joy. And we want more humanity.

Yet, for most of us, our day-to-day thoughts, words, and actions often don’t align to what we want most. We want peace and love and meaning. We want joy and purpose and connection. Yet, we ruminate in our heads about things long past. We fret about the future. We lose our focus in texts and notifications. We escape through TV binges, online shopping, and relentless media feeds. We feel judged and we feel badly. We judge others and we feel superior. We snap at our kids. We get irritated by inconsequential things. We spend a lot of time on autopilot. We meet people and decide, are you an us or a them? We carry outrage. And when we are doing the things that need to be done, our heads are often elsewhere. We miss the things in front of us.

What we want most is not what we do most.

How do we live a life that aligns to what we want most?

This question has been explored for thousands of years, from the wisdom of the ages to modern science. There is a lot of research and information out there--books, apps, talks, weekend workshops--you name it. Many of them are excellent and incredibly inspirational--many are wise and worthy teachers. But, this journey needs more than an intellectual understanding and a week of dedication. It needs ongoing attention and work. It needs to face the challenges of real life. And sustaining long-term, intentional practice is one of the toughest things for people to do.

We’ve found three common challenges for people working to align what they do with what they want.

The first challenge of sticking with practice is, well, sticking with it. Practice actually rewires your brain, but it takes the work that only comes with deliberate and consistent practice. It’s slow progress. It gets boring. It can be uncomfortable. More interesting things are available and we push it to later… And then tomorrow… Then it fades away, and when something triggers the memory, we think, Oh yeah! I used to practice that, it was great... Why did I stop?

The second challenge is that, when we do practice, the impact doesn’t last very long. We need to refresh throughout the day. The peace we find in the morning doesn’t get us through the whole day. The inspiration we feel after watching a TED talk stays top-of-mind for a bit, but dwindles quickly. Too often, as the day winds down, we find that escaping into Netflix and a bowl of popcorn sounds more appealing than connecting with our loved ones.

And one final challenge (and maybe the biggest) is that individually sustaining these practices is a solitary journey. We are strongly influenced by the people we’re around. When we’re with people (in real life and online) who are practicing the same values and have the same hopes for humanity, they bolster us. And, when we’re with people who focus on outrage and labeling and us versus them, they subtly influence us and wear on us over time. We can’t always choose the environment and people we’re around, but we can deliberately seek out time in cultures that support and practice the values we want to see in the world.

So, we designed jomanity to lessen these challenges and help sustain the practices for more joy and more humanity in a way that fits into our everyday lives.

Jomanity is a guide for living with more joy and more humanity through bite-sized lessons, stories, and practices. There are two key things to know about jomanity:

First, jomanity is based on short, bite-sized practices to use a few times a day. These are designed to bring our attention to the things we want to cultivate. The practices include short videos, articles, activities, and reflection. There are also breathing exercises--one minute of focused meditation and breathing can be as effective as ten, if done well. These are small breaks in your day to briefly pause and realign--to observe where your thoughts are, come back to your intentions, be present in your body, and refresh.

Second, jomanity is a community of people--all on journeys to building more joy and more humanity. We believe in the power of people’s stories--to learn, to teach, and to connect. Although much of the work is inward practice, having a community that shares cultural norms around the best of human values helps us grow together. We believe that together, we can have a greater impact, positively influence the people around us, and create more joy and humanity in the world.

Building awareness, living intentionally, and growing wisdom are lifelong practices, like exercise and nutrition. You don’t have to practice them, but doing so (and sticking with it) will transform your life. jomanity's vision is to help millions of people build and sustain these skills, and bring more joy and humanity into our lives, our communities, and our world.

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