“If you want to be loved, be loving.”
Dr. Norris Chumley
When I think of books I think of joy, comfort, pleasure and inspiration. These five books are books that touch my heart and have inspired me and allowed me pause to re-evaluate my life. I hope you will be inspired by them as well.
You Can Heal Your Life By: Louise Hay
The Traveler’s Gift By: Andy Andrews
Changing Your Course By: Bob and Melinda Blanchard
Three Cups of Tea By: Greg Mortenson
Stones Into Schools By: Greg Mortenson
As a freelance writer with a flexible schedule, one would imagine I’d have a lot of time to find joy in my life. Not so; with transitions in my life in the last four years joy had been a commodity I’ve had to learn to look for. The first thing I’ve come to realize is that JOY is in every day.
Joy opens our heart.
Think about something that brings you joy. Cuddling with your dog? Snuggling on the couch with your child? Maybe waking on a day off and knowing you can make coffee and drink it while listening to some music? Joy might be smelling lilacs or watching the moon rise. Joy is in our every day moments. Joy is what brings a smile to our face. Joy lights up our hearts.
Yes, there are million ways to defer joy
We can spend all our time worrying about every responsibility we have. Will we feel joyful doing that? No, we will feel stressed out and cranky. Trust me, I’ve done that. I’ve been there and I’m not going back. It’s not worth it. Surviving a short sale is not something I ever expected to experience. It cost me emotionally and financially. I will be paying off a couple debts for a while from that period.
I choose now to find joy.
I choose to focus my life in a direction that bring me happiness and joy. I made hard choices. Choices are heartfelt, they are different for each of us. In the end mine have been choices I felt were right for me. Simplifying life is where I started.
The First Steps
Downsizing from the belongings and items that smothered me from my father’s death and estate was a big step. I kept the furniture and treasures of dad’s that I most love. The rest I shared with family, friends and donation centers. In the end I gave away enough to fill a normal house. I chose to purchase a smaller home and that is how I ended up in a short sale situation. My father’s house, large and specialized took three years to sell. Three years of struggle, stress and anxiety for me. If you are in your own financial struggle, your own feeling of gasping for freedom from your financial struggles, I understand.
My Best Advice
Cut your losses and move on. I wasn’t ready for that. My dad’s home held too much emotional feeling for me to let go. Not being able to let go cost me emotionally and financially. It was my lesson and it took time to learn and heal. So how does this relate to joy? Joy is a bi-product of my experience. In releasing myself from what I experienced and accepting my life, I am finding more joy.
I’ve rediscovered joy in a walk with my dog Tanner. I smile every time he greets me. His joy is infectious. His love and fun are a blessing. Gardening and walks bring joy to my soul. What makes you feel joy? A week or two ago as I worked at my computer I noticed a squirrel outside my window, in the flowerbed. He was eating, watching me and just enjoying the warm sunshine. He knew something valuable. He knew that joy and fun are just as important as being responsible. Yes, he gathers food and provides for his family but he also knows how to find joy. Pay attention next time you see squirrels. They dash up and down trees and chase each other wildly across yards. They know how to let loose and feel joy! That squirrel was the reminder and nudge I needed. He reminded me that feeling joy is a part of every day.
What Joy Does for Us
I’m not a Dr but I would guess that every time I feel joy it does something wonderful for my body. Every time I take a deep relaxing breath and look at the green of the trees and the sun glinting on the grass I feel a measure of joy. Yes, big things feel joyful. But every day moments add up in teaspoons and cupfuls to fill our lives with joy too. We can be way too serious. Sometimes it’s as simple as stepping away from our tasks and spending five minutes reading our favorite book, kissing our kids or hugging our loved ones. Joy is in every day. It’s time to see it and feel it. Feeling joy opens our hearts and allows us deeper happiness.