Embrace the voyage…Embrace the Journey…I say, Embrace the JOY in every day journeys! Right!? EMBRACE THE JOYAGE!
It has taken me a lifetime to get to a place and truly understand the true meaning of creating moments of JOY. Hoping to bring about more moments than not of this incredible ingredient life gives and takes. JOY.
JOY: A feeling of great pleasure and happiness. OR gladness not based on circumstance [1 Peter 1:8-9] OR darkness dispelled. The light of everlasting life lit up in the soul. OR the emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.
EMBRACE ALL the JOY you can get.
Not everyone feels or enJOYs JOY. It is a gift; a desired outcome on the journey of life. We do the daily to do’s in order of hoping we can create the correct dosages or amounts of work, study, conversations, smiles, interactions that will give us something…anything… but hopeful it will have JOY sprinkled in.
Who doesn’t want or hope for pure JOY. There is enough other stuff out there that can be taken in certain supply hoping for some inkling of our desired JOY.
I want the pure, unaltered version. I want the stuff that cannot be diluted or distilled to a various version. I don’t want to be hyped up on illusion. I want real JOY.
I seek it daily. I try too [soo] hard to make each day a little better. I learn new things. I work on my mental toughness. I pray. I get grateful. I try not to be a hater to my physical body. I get outside every day. I kiss. I laugh. I work to become a little better each day.
BUT, even then. JOY can be illusive. It can send someone else in to steal your joy or high-jack your higher place of personal wellness.
Yesterday, well, I should say, on many visiting weekends, my daughter visits from college and we can have a wonderful time. But, also a time of turmoil, struggle, mind bombs of my JOY. She throws grenades that hurt with her eye rolls and her comments that tear down my way of living. She expresses how all I talk about are life lessons, getting grateful, doing better, spreading love….etc. I am taken back every time that I get turned into a battle of justifying gratitude or good life lessons, sharing, etc. I am slapped in the face for good?? What is that?? That is a legitimate hi-jacking of good things that can lead to joy. Who does that?? My daughter?? What??
Well, to say the least, it brings about a reflection of deeper needs. I have always believed that your life is an expression of your living. You are an example to those you love and live with. So, how does this happen??
What happened to her JOY?? How did it get so lost??
My heart soo deeply just wants her happy, finding joy around every corner, living her best life, doing things that lead her to her hearts happiness. Her college experience has been a tough journey, but she tries soo hard every day. It is like she is in a daily battle of wills. Her mental toughness is challenged to the core and her strength seems to weaken with her internal compass teetering in insecurities. She is a beautiful girl who has always been so sure of who she is, where she is going, what she wants for her life, her enthusiasm, her charm, her strength, her positive nature…has slowly been eroding since entering college. She works hard to connect with others and has lots of connections, but no one reciprocates the love and energy she puts out. It has been a tough voyage.
So, what can I do?? How do I help as a mother? How do we help one another in this journey to embrace the JOYage??
Let us jump in to find answers and ideas to help one find and EMBRACE the JOYAGE…
MAKE THE MOST OUT OF IT According to an INC article The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of everyday. It doesn’t matter how old we are, what we’ve done, or how much money we have. Our journey is a personal one-full of lessons and reasons to be happy. When we stop comparing ourselves to others and realize how full our lives are, we can appreciate our individual value.
Say THANK YOU. I always have loved Wayne Dyer and I remember him always mentioning how every morning when he would get out of bed, he would touch the floor with his feet and say, “Thank you.” Another one of my favorite’s to live by…“If the only prayer you say is thank you, it will be enough.”
GRATITUDE: Find anything you are and can be grateful for. Gratitude has been a staple in our home because I believe in its power to help in all you do. It can change thought patterns from negative to positive, build happiness, grow good things, etc. I have often found myself talking to my daughter about focusing on those things that she can be grateful for on her college campus. One of her greatest wins—being grateful for a spin class to help ease stress. When she struggles to find things—in the end, it may be some of the hardest and most challenging things that bring us to our knees and make us stronger. The funny thing—she has always hated exercise, but finding something she can find JOY in…priceless. Thanks spin classes 😉
Another personal story: moving to Oregon has taken some time to get use to the surprises in the weather here. It can be sunny, then raining, then hailing, all within a half hour. It can have crazy winds, intense down pours, so when the sun comes out, I feel every sense of my being to run to the sunshine. I have never been so grateful for the sun in the dark, rainy winters. BUT, I also reflect on the beautiful rain and the incredible rainbows that constantly grace the wet landscapes. You cannot have the rainbows without the rain. To me that is the sincerest example of gratitude. No matter what, there is always something beautiful that comes. You can always find the beauty in anything if you truly seek to find it. Finding gratitude throughout your life will uncover hidden gifts and treasures you may not even see.
DISCOVER. I do believe variety is the spice of life, so I am always seeking new landscapes, new trails to hike, new desserts to try, new things to learn, new books to read, new beaches to walk…seek and find things that are new to your senses. I guarantee that even if you have lived in the same neighborhood for years that there are new places to find, paths to take, shops to wander, waterfalls to see, classes to take, etc. Find something new to light up your JOY.
TRY SOMETHING NEW. Walking a college campus is a fun way to be hit in the face with all types of things to try. There seems to be tack boards full of upcoming activities for people to join—cooking classes, line dancing, cactus potting, art, martial arts, concerts…the lists go on and on. Trying new things is a great way to get you outside of yourself, connecting with others and learning something new in the process.
I am a big believer in community education. I usually try to challenge myself to take some type of class where I will learn something. This winter I have been taking an Irish group dance class. Because maybe one day, I will be in Ireland and will walk into a pub and know what a Ceili dance is. haha. Smile. Smile. and join in. There are always so many things you can learn. Take a chance. Learn something new. Challenge and grow.
FIND LITTLE JOYS NOW: Find those little things within your life that bring you joy now. DONT postpone your life with the never-ending list of, ‘When I make $$ then…” or “When I finally move to…my life will be better” or “Maybe when I find the love of my life…” you need to work on being presently JOY-filled. You need to seek out those little things in your life that bring you little, even tiny bits of joy now. Maybe it is a favorite sweatshirt you enJOY wearing or a special cafe drink that brings a smile to your face or a friend who always makes you laugh or watering your plants or playing with your dog. Maybe its a sunset walk or a starlight wish. Maybe it is playing an instrument or painting your nails. Everyone has those little things that bring little joys. Seek and find those daily.
STEP BY STEP: Think of a stream with big rocks that are stepping stones to the other side. Be gentle with your journey. There will be mis-steps where you may fall in or you may over-jump in excitement, you may slip when you are unsure, or stand tall with assurance, etc. The journey will have its ups and downs, surprise endings, happy wins, wild twists and turns, but with each forward step you are moving in a good direction. Learn from each happening, whether it is hard or happy, ultimately your life is what you will make out of it. Look at each stumble as a stepping stone towards greatness. Learn from everything you grow through. Begin to trust yourself, your personal footing and the directions you desire to go. It is ultimately your life and your journey. Learn to embrace the JOYS in all you do.
FAITH OVER FEAR WITHIN YOURSELF: Faith over fear is another staple reminder in our home. We have had many experiences that have been personal testaments to the truth of this statement. You must have faith over fear in all you do. BUT, even so within yourself. You must have a greater faith in who you are, the directions you are going, the work you are doing, your personal belief and will that you are incredible and will overcome the fears that try to creep in. We all have insecurities, but seeking to instill a greater mental faith will help deter the fears that will try to push us to our knees. We must always remember one of my favorite quotes: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Have faith in that! Shine bright and have the faith to do so..for fear cannot live in the freedom of a soul on fire.
GET INTO NATURE: I have a very strong belief in the power of nature and the great benefits it gives. Nature is an untapped resource of rich goodness. We have not even touched the enormous benefits that it holds. We know it is good to get into nature, but “There is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human wellbeing,” says Lisa Nisbet, PhD, a psychologist at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, who studies connectedness to nature. “You can boost your mood just by walking in nature, even in urban nature. And the sense of connection you have with the natural world seems to contribute to happiness even when you’re not physically immersed in nature.”-apa. and according to a Yale article Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive functioning.
Get outside and let the sunshine feed your body with nutrient vitamins. I will often be out in 50 degree weather along the coast in a tank top, while everyone else is wearing down parka’s—why? Because I smile at the sunshine and say…bring it! I enJOY feeling the suns rays nourish my everything–body and soul. Get out in nature: take your dogs on a walk, pick berries, hunt for mushrooms, take in sunsets, breathe in the freshest air, walk barefoot, touch the trees, smell the flowers, take in every splendor possible. Seek nature when you look out a window or when you are on a lunch break. Take the long way around a building before a meeting. Have a luncheon outside. Bring a plant(s) to work. Even having a picture of nature will bring you its benefits. Nature gives in all things. Take every moment possible to be in it…near it…basking in it.
LAUGHTER: Oh, the untapped goodness of a good, hearty, belly laugh!! It can take a tense situation and bring a smile. It can make a heart feel so much better. It takes away the edge of stress to leave you gasping in smiles. There is a light and a physical lightness it brings to any situation. So, have a go-to’s of funny comedies, series and movies you enJOY watching. Get together often with people who make you laugh out loud. Always be on the lookout for comedians who you appreciate, jokes you can share, anything that makes your heart sing in comedic bliss. According to the MayoClinic, “A good sense of humor can’t cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive things laughter can do. A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body.
- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long term. Laughter may:
- Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
- Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.“
ENJOY THOSE AROUND YOU: People will come and go in your life, so it is the gifts and lessons that you can learn and take away from the encounters that happen daily. I fondly remember a training I was attending & I had one of the educators call me out and embarrass me in front of the group. I calmly excused myself and broke down in tears in a nearby bathroom. One of the bathroom attendants noticed me crying and approached me. She did not understand English, but did her best to comfort me with a sincere hug. That was all I needed, a complete stranger to connect with me on a deeper level and show me the genuine compassion from another in my time of need. We are all here for one another—in one way or another. If we take the time to treasure those glimpses of another’s heart, a smile, a kind word, a compliment, a gesture…the world would be a better place.
Another personal story: my husband was recently helping with the college level, World Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York. There were numerous winter, athletic teams from around the world. Many did not speak English, but that did not stop my husband from making genuine connections. By the end of the two week period my husband made many friends, but a special friendship with team Spain. Even though they did not speak English they had a great respect and appreciation for my husband. At the end of the events they gave my husband one of their team jackets & made him an honorary team member. It was such a kind gesture & one that will stay with my husband forever. The genuine gifts of connection when you sincerely enJOY those around you. People FEEL your love by how you treat them. Love and respect above all.
Seek JOY. Dance with life’s gifts. Find yourself along the journey. embrace the JOYage. Life is short. Make it memorable.
Peace. Love and Light to you. -H