I want you to remember how joyful life can be. And how it’s possible to live both a hard life and a joyful one at the very same time.

I’ve come to learn that joy is a practice.

It’s not an innate state of mind. Or a gift for the lucky few.

Rather, it’s the result of a steady daily practice to reclaim the energy sapped by the hard work of living.

Living has been hard these days, eh?

Pandemics, job changes, home schooling, inland hurricanes, humanitarian crises … whew!

And for many of us that’s just the background noise. I lost my dad in July and recently my brother was diagnosed with a tough cancer. My husband is changing jobs and my whole family is in some kind of flux.

Sound familiar?

It’s exhausting. And a constant challenge to stay positive, optimistic, and hopeful about our futures. To create our positive, optimistic, and hopeful futures.

Let’s Reclaim Joy together!

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Wired for Crisis Mode and Fear of Change

See, our brains are genetically wired to focus on the disasters and worst-case-scenarios, and to fear change and uncertainty. This kept our remote ancestors alive.

So tenacious are our survival-oriented brains, we easily get stuck in crisis mode and resistance to change.

This makes us feel stuck.

When we’re stuck, we can’t access joy.

We need our joy back.

We Can Choose Joy

“Joy is always a surprise, and often a decision. Joy is portable. Joy is a habit, and these days, it can be a radical act.”

—Anne Lammott (beloved author and radical joy seeker)

In other words, joy is inside each one of us.

Joy is always there. It gets buried in the rubble created by our fatigue, suffering, distraction, and survival-oriented responses to life.

Our task is to go within and find it, to make it accessible to us, and to choose it through how we practice.

Let’s be radical, shall we?

Let’s Reclaim Joy together!

Click the button to sign up. (Existing subscribers, you’re already set!)

Join Me

Timing is Everything

We’ll Use Autumn Equinox Harvest Energy to Access Joy

The Autumn equinox is just around the corner. Equinox, meaning “equal night,” is when the length of our days and nights are the same.

There is a long cross-cultural history of honoring the Autumn equinox as a time of harvest—to give thanks for the many gifts of our lives and prepare to become quiet visionaries for our futures.

There is nothing as powerful as gratitude to wake up joy.

In this time, as we prepare for fall and the shorter, darker days ahead, we are poised to re-set, re-imagine, and re-claim what is ours to re-ignite the joy within us.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once observed, “Only in the darkness can we see the stars.”

The darker days, while often unsettling, lend themselves to venturing inside—into the quiet, intuitive interior spaces of ourselves. This is precisely where we find our wisdom—see the stars—to access joy.

Together, we’ll harness this wisdom energy of the autumn equinox to re-set, re-imagine, and re-claim our joy. To practice joy. To take joy with us through the quiet darkness of winter and beyond.

Mark Your Calendars

“If joy could talk, this is what She would say, it was Love who gave birth to me.”


We begin with love on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 and complete our 22-day program on the Autumn equinox, though we’ll find our journey to joy has just begun!

I want you to remember how joyful life can be. And how it’s possible to live both a hard life and a joyful one at the very same time.

Through this 22-day journey we’ll discover how joy is foundationally:

  • Accessible to all of us no matter how hard life is.
  • In our own hands—not derived from external sources.
  • Cultivated through simple short daily practices.

How cool will it be to have thousands of us re-discovering our joy as we do these simple practices together? These are my gift to you—to us—I’ll be practicing right beside you!

Will you join me?

All you need to do is subscribe to my free e-book and weekly articles! Just enter your email below. (Existing subscribers, no need to sign up again. You’re already all set!)


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    To heal, we have to see all the events of the past year as a call. Not a series of random calamities, not bad luck, not cruel misfortune.

  6. Reclaim Joy

    I want you to remember how joyful life can be. And how it’s possible to live both a hard life and a joyful one at the very same time.

Karyn Shanks MD

About the Author

Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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