Feeling Joy

We have made it to the end of 2020 and I am sure everyone is ready to start the new year in the hopes that it will be a little more like 2019 before COVID came into our lives. I have to admit. the pandemic disrupted my usual endeavors but it also made things better for me. I found happiness and joy where others might have found discouragement, fear and perhaps anger. I learned to cling to the things that bring happiness in my life and to disassociate with the things that only create frustration.

So what is it that brings you happiness and joy into your life? Here are 5 things that bring my joy and I celebrate them at the end of this year.

  1. Animals
  2. Family
  3. Good Food
  4. Travel
  5. My Savior

The Inner Journey

So . . . I have been thinking . . . A lot.

The last 3 years have really been transformative years for me. Shedding the skin that is no longer serving me and finding the better me in the process. So many things have been working behind the scenes as I have been transforming to get me to the point I am right now and I am very grateful for the process even if it seems to be somewhat slow.

I was thinking about the travel post today and decided that instead of sharing about another place that I have physically been, I would share with everyone the inner journey that I have been on and the new insights that I gained this past weekend.

What sparked me this weekend was this statement—Living in fear isn’t living.

So simple and yet for me, it hit me hard.

Fear really does stagnate us. It eliminates HOPE, PEACE, FAITH, and JOY from our lives. We shouldn’t be experiencing sudden bursts of these feelings in an otherwise fearful life. Since we can’t eradicate fear; let’s at the very least flip it.

So I thought of 5 things that I have been living in fear of over my life and how it manifested for me. Take a moment and think about your own life and what you have been living in fear of and see if you have somehow been falling into the trap of fear—then do everything to flip it around and start living in HOPE, PEACE, FAITH, and JOY.

  1. Fear of Disease

We live in a world where we are bombarded by all the things that are “better” for us. We also live where we have an abundance of options. Because of the mass overload of information and the fear of making the wrong choice—I have had moments of giving up and making no choice except what feels good. That creates the moments of eating food that does nothing to nourish me, being lazy in physical effort, and participating in habits that cause damage to my overall physical well-being.

  1. Fear of Not Having Enough

Do you ever wonder how you ended up with so much stuff in your house? I think there are a lot of people that have this fear. For me it manifested in spending money and at some points—to excess. That is why credit cards have such a place in our lives. Instead of seeing if I already owned it or could make do with what I did have; I would automatically spend more money so I had the “right” thing.

  1. Fear of Not Being Enough

Every one of us tries to do our best and be our best but my whole life I have never felt good enough. I have had moments of feeling “on top of the world” but really I compare myself to everyone ALL of the time. This has been such a hard habit to break because it is so ingrained in my psyche. For me, not being enough has manifested itself as me being OCD. I am always trying to make everything perfect ALL of the time. I even have done it to the point of insanity but . . . I am trying to break this fear once and for all.

  1. Fear of Love

All of us want the most fundamental part of us and that is to give love, feel love and be loved. We wouldn’t be human without this most fundamental trait because all emotions pass through it on some level. It would take me forever to explain how this fear has worked in my life but to tighten it up: it puts me in or keeps me in situations that are not a good fit for me. I then feel like the failure. While this one will take my lifetime to work through because it is based on experiences that are constantly occurring in my life—the least I can do is stop getting into situations that I know will not serve me well.

  1. Fear of The Present

Have you ever wished that your life could just be a little better? Is the grass greener when it is down the road and where changes will make all the difference? If we only live our lives in the future of what-if then we are actually not living right now and we are allowing fear of the present situation to hold us back from our real potential and all things that are at our doorsteps now.

Joy Ride

I have to tell everyone . . . I have had a hard couple of weeks and the stress has been wrecking havoc on my digestive system and my sleep cycle. It was so bad at the end of last week that Friday night when I was driving home from work, all I wanted to do was come home and go to bed pulling the covers over my head. I did get home and managed to eek out some interest in a movie but sure enough, I just wanted to go to bed. Once in bed I decided that I wasn’t getting out of it in the morning unless I had to. Luckily the next morning brought a brighter perspective.

When I woke up, I laid in bed thinking about things and decided that staying home was only going to make it worse, so the best thing for me was to get out of bed and get out of the house. For a long time now, I have been keeping a list of places and things that I want to see when I have a moment (which seems to be never). I decided that today was the day I was going to accomplish the list.

I got up, got ready, quickly ate breakfast and then sat down to the computer to map my route. It ended up being a VERY big circle of stops all over the Portland metro area. I left at 11 am and actually wasn’t able to complete my list because places where closed or it was dark.

I had the best day ever!! I have now learned the real meaning behind the term “joy ride”. Just being outside in the sun, enjoy the beauty of fall, mingling with others, brought a huge smile to my face. I was reminded that yes, life is difficult and completely sucks at times and yes, you can have those moments where it is okay to draw the covers over your head but going forward in gratitude for what you have, what you see, where you live, and those you love, really can bring a smile to your face and your heart.

As we go into November, I pray that everyone will try to have an “attitude of gratitude”. A little bit of it goes a long way and once you have it, pass it along to others in the form of service. We will look back at those moments with love and happiness and will be able to make it through all the dark stormy days of our lives.

If anyone wants to see my crazy drive–here it is!