Welcome to my first blog (actually my 4th, but the others have mysteriously disappeared)
Some people struggle their whole lives to find joy. They search and search, not really knowing what it truly means to be joyous. They've looked in the wrong places and always ended up disappointed, perhaps through relationships or that top paying job, perhaps even through addiction. Maybe they gave up and settled for that mediocre life and decided, "this is as good as it gets."
I've been that person. I've searched in all of the wrong places. I grew up believing the grass was always greener. In the back of my mind I instinctively knew that these were irrational beliefs. That a husband or boyfriend, a great job or whatever, did not make me better, or more worthy or more joyous. But still, I relied on other people, on earning more money, on that bigger house, on being in control.
I left Toronto when I was 22 years old, with my 8 month old daughter. I was a single parent, with an amazing job working for the Toronto Board of Ed., but I was missing something. I was unhappy in my relationship with her father, I didn't want her growing up downtown in a big city, I saw what big cities did to the children I worked with. It chewed them up and spit them out. There was no way in hell my daughter was being subjected to that, so I packed it up and moved to Guelph, ON when the school year was over and rented a townhome in a city far away and mailed in my resignation to the Board.
It was an adventure to say the least, but it did not bring me joy. Within a year, I was battling a prominent pesticide co., for spraying my lawn with poisonous pesticide and herbicides. It was a condo, so all townhomes were sprayed as part of their maintenance contract. But.....I was on the 'No Spray' list, and when my daughter's beautiful little dandelions started wilting, the flower's she found so much joy picking for me, the honeybees first food source in Spring, let's just say Battle Royale ensued. I contacted David Suzuki in BC (I was fortunate enough to have met him on several occasions as a kid...he was often at parties my parents attended), and was grateful he remembered me. He gave me some amazing insight and a litany of information on the deadly effects of the chemicals and their long term effects on our health, the health of insects and the devastating effects on our waterways and environment. I contacted the Ministry Of The Environment to come and test my soil and the Guelph Mercury newspaper to encourage them to do a story. I'll end this story for now, but let's just say the multinational chemical co. is no longer in business ;)
I honestly thought after my huge victory at a mere 23 years old, I had found joy! But I wasn't happy, I wasn't joyous. I was grateful and elated at the win, but I had spent so much time (almost a full year) researching and fighting. I was physically drained. I wondered if this was all there is?
A lot happened in the years between then and now, a lot of great things and a lot of terrible things, a lot of adventures, a lot of misadventures. Too many ups and downs, too many fights, so much struggle, so much climbing back up, thinking I'd overcome the last of it, and wham....right back down to yet another misfortune. I knew something had to change....not my environment, not my house, not my dead end job...but ME...I had to change. I HAD to change my perception of what truly makes me happy. I needed to go back to my joy. My 8 year old self. My 23 year old self. The joy of collecting rocks and crayfish, watching butterflies and honeybees. Rescuing salamanders and injured birds. Chipmunks and spiders, of writing and learning and canning fruit and vegetables. The things that opened my eyes, that gave me a zest for life, an appreciation of all things living and non living, of creativity, of peacefulness and the betterment of me. The things that as a child brought me the same joy I saw in my daughter when she handed me her dandelion bouquet.
Five plus decades old, I find JOY in the simplest of forms. The honeybee collecting pollen, the sound of water running in my little backyard pond, amid the traffic at the front of the house, the butterfly that brushes past my face, the smell of a combination of oils that I've created and bottled into a beautiful perfume, the raspberries ripening over night on the vine and the jar of jam I've yet to create from them. It truly is the simpler things. Taking a minimum of 5 minutes each morning, while the household sleeps, to sit with my thoughts and watch the amazing little creatures in my tiny backyard. These things really do bring me joy. An inner peace, a way to calm myself before I take on the days challenges. A realization that I am just a mere mortal on this great big planet Earth and that there is beauty in the simplest and smallest of forms.
I still struggle everyday, I still have battles I'm fighting, but I've also found a great way to ground myself when the going gets tough. I've found my JOY, and there's not a chance, come hell or high water that I'm giving it up for anything!
Spend a few minutes today imagining Joy, and take a moment envisioning it. Feel your inner peace envelop you. Sip your coffee in a different room, or outdoors if possible. Close out the sounds of the unnatural, and listen for the bird chirp or watch a butterfly flit over a busy roadway. Go back in your mind to when you were young and carefree, without a worry in the world. Remember 'that' feeling? Your bills can wait, your job can wait, your spouse and children can wait, your pet can wait. Take the 'me' time, it's only 5 minutes. And trust me, 5 minutes is all you need to change your whole perspective, to set your mind straight, to prepare you for the day ahead.
At the end of your hard day, take another 5 minutes if you must. 5 minutes you're not worrying or overthinking. 5 minutes to think of or perhaps jot down the things that really and truly brought you Joy today. It may seem ominous at first, but you'll be surprised how many joyous things you brushed off. Maybe something as simple as a kiss from your pet, or watching a parent hug their child from across the road. If you focus, it really is easy. The beautiful things we see everyday that we overlook. Try it and let me know what you've found. Let the world see your JOY!
Peace & Love,