• mass noun a feeling of great pleasure and happiness: tears of joy
• count noun a thing that causes joy: the joys of country living
“Oftentimes when the world feels chaotic, we begin to feel as if it is somehow inappropriate to have joy. Have your joy. Joy is a form of radical self-care. Joy energizes us to take on even the most difficult circumstances. When we have joy, especially in the midst of challenging times, we are saying to the world “I will define the current state of the world around me instead of allowing it to define me.” Today, regardless of what is happening, empower yourself by embracing your joy.”Cleo Wade, Heart Talk
The pursuit of happiness is a constant cycle within life. It’s the most common and unified goal for people around the globe. To simply just be happy.
I am writing this rambling for a few reasons. To begin with, I recently stumbled upon Cleo Wade’s one page “HAVE JOY” which resonated with me.
January was little harder than I would have hoped; my anxieties began to rise, a severe lack of time for self-care, questioning my own decisions…
I needed to see these words written black and white.
Secondly, there are a few people in my life also going through difficult times; deciding what is next, asking why did this and that happen. I have found myself giving advice and then questioning myself if I am ‘qualified’ to even be giving the advice while I am also struggling with the steps.
But HAVE JOY speaks out again and I want to share this with you all. We all need to hear this. Whether we think we do or not…
Have your joy.
Joy or happiness is never ending. You can’t just achieve it and keep it forever. There is an ongoing striving and working towards it. This takes a while to sink in sometimes.
“Finding yourself in a hole, at the bottom of a hole, in almost total solitude, and discovering that only writing can save you.”Marguerite Duras, Writing
My most common advice being dished out at the moment is to write about it. Write a list to help with your crossroad decision. Write about the breakup and heartache. Through writing you can heal, focus and ultimate find that joy.
A lot of people tend to come to me to ask for help with their decisions. A or B, which should I choose? And often it’s about lifestyle, careers, and way of life. I have chosen lifestyle over societal expectations. I have gone against the norm. This isn’t for everyone – but it is for some people. You should never feel pressured into a choice because of what other people want you to do. The choice is always yours.
However, if you believe choosing an island life over the UK, or wherever else, will make you happy please do think again. I repeat, joy is an ongoing task. You don’t achieve it as soon as you set your feet in the sand. Sure, you bury your head a little and it gives an alleviation for a while. But long term, you still need to find space in your life to find that happiness and have your joy.
In this chaotic world it’s important for us all to remember happiness and joy is still ours to take. Do not give up, find your way again. I believe in you.
Want to discuss this topic directly with Abi?
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Abi, an Ancient and Wise Friend of mine (who is also a qualified counsellor) once told me that it is fine to give advice as long as it is about something of which you have personal experience. If people have asked for your advice, it is because they both trust you and value your opinion. After all, they are not obliged to take it and you cannot be held responsible for what they subsequently do!
I personally think that happiness and joy are a bit like an old-fashioned bar of wet soap in a bath – the harder you try to capture it, the more elusive it is! Gently does it for me, though we’re all different, of course. X
What a brilliant image of capturing joy, something that we all know to be slippery and frustrating at times!
All resonates, even with an old crumbly like me. Assess, re assess is a constant process in life. It is “Where am I now?” Sometimes, you will say it to yourself in a positive “can do” frame of mind, sometimes you will do the same mental process in a befuddled desperation frame of mind. Same process, same factors, different feelings. We humans are strange creatures.
The fact that people come to you seeking your advice, which really means you are coerced into accepting responsibility of decision for them, from them, demonstrates that personal anxiety does not show like a flashing beacon on your forehead. They don’t see that you live in the same world as they do, with all the same demons chasing through your head – just like them.
What you say about writing them out in a list is good – it’s what I do. Perhaps not always on a piece of paper, but certainly in my head. Rationalise it. That mountain often becomes more of a foothill, and a navigable path shows it’s self. It all starts to become “do able”.
See, get into your 70’s, things are no different – you just get a little more aware that the path you are tramping is not that lonesome, there have been many travellers before you, and there are many still to follow. As said, we are strange, insecure, but considering creatures.
It’s very comforting to know this is all relatable no matter the place in life. Maybe it’s a sign I too am aging and am no longer in the child mind frame! I do believe I was also an old soul at heart…
A good many years ago now, having been promoted at work, I began to feel the pressure that came with the change in responsibility. I was beginning to bring the job home with me and fret about all the intangibles and maybe for the first time in my life, suffer from stress.
Yes, I know it is silly to get stressed out over things we really have little control of, but it all seemed very real to me at the time.
At about this time we went away on holiday at the seaside with the children and while gazing out of the window at the waves breaking on the beach it suddenly came to me that these waves have been doing that for countless years and will continue to do so long after I have passed on. It was a revelation and put all my worries into a very different light when compared to the indifference shown by the natural process I was watching through the window. How trivial my worries all were by comparison
Whether or not that was a manifestation of joy I can’t be sure, but the realisation brought a great sense of peace to me at the time and I went home fully refreshed for the holiday. I now knew with certainty that I could only do what I was capable of doing without turning myself into a wreck.
The experience has served me well over the years and I re-run those waves in my mind whenever I feel the need.
The ocean is my therapy. Always will be. The endless flow, the unknowing power – really humbles you and puts perspective to the world. Thank you for sharing the wonderful anecdote, it’s a really beautiful insight!
Such beautiful words and lovely contributions from your grandparents too. It all resonates well with me too. Finding something that gives you joy and pleasure despite your pain, anxieties and the craziness going on around you is so important. What a lovely piece Abi xx
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