Joy is a decision. Isn’t it?
I am facilitating a workshop in St. Paul, MN with a friend and colleague, Bill Alexander, on October 22nd, just a few weeks from now. Our topic is joy so I have thought about it a lot lately. The full title of the workshop is Cultivating Joy in our Relationships. I have written extensively over the last few years about relationships, and I believe they are the vehicles for healing ourselves in this life. And the expression of joy, (one pathway to healing I think,) in our many relationships, the extremely significant ones and those that are more casual, takes little more than willingness I think. But are we truly willing? It’s a question worth pondering because of the gifts the expression of joy bestows. It is a balm that heals the deep, interior spaces of our minds and hearts, and its healing powers are felt by our companions too.
I don’t mean to imply that we never have problems or hit bumps in the road; we trip often, but I think our desire for peaceful, joyful, “bump-free” relationships is the first major step we need to take to cultivate the joy that we deserve. I used to experience the alternative to joy on a regular basis, and my relationships all suffered. For much of the first three decades of my life, I sought but seldom experienced real joy. Alcohol teased me into thinking I was joyful on occasion. Until I woke up the next morning that is. It was never a joy that lasted. It had no real staying power. But I don’t live in that woman’s skin any longer.
What happened? I consider this question frequently because of the work I do and I’d have to say the biggest reason for my change is that I finally quit trying to make every one else my higher power and turned to God instead. This “way of living” should not have been so elusive, but in my family of origin I didn’t have role models who turned to a source out side of themselves for direction. When I did watch others seek guidance from a source greater than themselves after coming into the rooms of the fellowship, my world began to change.
Now I know that God was always along for the ride I was taking but we have to be aware of the presence to reap the full benefits. My awareness now gives me peace of mind and mountains of joy. Enough to spread around, in fact. And that’s what I try to do on a daily basis when with others, when listening to them, when writing some thing that others may read some day and when leading a discussion at a meeting or workshop. Joy is here now. Joy is every where, in fact. We simply have to decide to recognize it. And then be an example of it if we want to keep it for all time.
I do. Do you?