Finding Joy.

Find your joy. Enjoy the Journey.

I’ve written these words many times, and I understand more than most that writing them is far more simple than living them. I read an article yesterday that made me think about the last few years of my journey in joy, and I wanted to share those thoughts with you. Most of this blog is my sharing of these thoughts…but for some reason, today I’ve been able to focus years of thought into a few pages. Many of you know the struggles, tears, and laughter that have taught me these lessons. Thank you for walking with me through it all.

Thoughts on my journey to finding joy, in a way that I hope will help you in yours.

  • First: a solid foundation. A wise woman once wrote, “Rock bottom is the solid foundation on which I built a stronghold of change in my life.” I have been there. Lost. Broken. Unsure of the right choices to make…while making all the wrong ones. The answer is not how, when, or even why we end up at rock bottom, but what decision we make when we face a tipping point in it. Will you choose change, or to stay right where you are?
  • Cue Cards. For this, I must link you back to the Cue Cards page, the concept that I built the entire theory of this blog on. The idea that we must first know, and stand up for, ourselves…before we can expect others to know, and stand up for us. It is an ongoing, active process. One well worth it.
  • Family. Each day, I find my family to be more and more important to me. I grew up in a way that leads me to view family as more of an idea than a genealogy. If you know me, you know that I’m not an acquaintance maker. I do not have a large group of friends, or a huge extended family. The family I do have include my friends, and is the select group of people who I share my life with, while allowing me to share in theirs. Each passing day, I love them more, and desire to forge deeper relationships with them.
  • Mortality. The older I get, the more I feel struck by the nature of my own mortality. Not that I fear death, but more that I understand the impending nature of it. Although this can feel scary at times, I have found it to also allow me to enjoy each day to a greater extent, to let things of a stressful nature go more easily, and to be able to step away from a controlling nature that I once found very natural. Knowing that my last breath may be decades, or moments, away is as freeing as it is scary. Serving my family, friends, and community, becomes a joy rather than a chore.
  • Apology and Forgiveness. For me, a giant lesson in the journey to joy has been found in making a clear distinction between apology and forgiveness. They are not correlated, nor does one cause the other. We must learn to forgive, often times without receiving first, or at all, an apology…just as we must learn to apologize, knowing we may never be forgiven.
  • Attitude: An active process. At work and in life, attitude is the true key to happiness. Attitude is everything. It is the only thing we truly have any sort of control over. I believe that through choice of attitude, we can find joy regardless of circumstance. How? If you want something, work for it. If you want something other than what you currently have, work towards change. If you don’t like something that is currently holding you back, work to rid yourself of it. If you’ve experienced immense sorrow throughout your life, work toward embracing the joy that may remain in parts of the experience, and let the rest go. If you have no idea what you want, work to surround yourself with people you admire, those who have the traits that inspire you.“Good” things do not happen to bad people, or to good people. Good things happen to those who set their lives up to receive good things.Remember though that happiness is just as dependant on how you deal with the bad things, as how often the good things occur. If you make your life an experiment in joy, and consistently work toward that joy, the good will come, and the bad will be tolerable.

    Life is not a passive experience. Life is an active process.

Each of us will take a different path along our journey. The important thing is to start walking. There may be things in your life today, or baggage from the past, that keeps you from taking that first step. For me, unhealthy living kept me feeling down…unable to make the changes I needed. Running and yoga helped me break the unhealthy cycle my body was in, while setting boundaries for stress in my life (the “not my boat” concept) allowed me to finally take that first step.

I did not do any of the work by myself, and to those of you who guided me, and guide me still, thank you. There were, and will be, times that I was guided kicking and screaming. Thank you for sticking with me.

Today, 1 month before my 30th birthday, I look back on the lessons I’ve learned…giving thanks to the people, and circumstances, that have taught me these valuable lessons, and I look forward to the many new lessons that will be learned.

Find your joy. Enjoy the journey.

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