Choosing More Joy
Living a life filled with More Joy is a choice you make every moment of every day. It is not always an easy choice, but it is a better choice. Most of us have challenging circumstances which we navigate daily, whether they involve people or loneliness, events or boredom, too little time or too little money. Part of the reason we feel this way is because we get so caught up in the challenges of the moment...focusing on our lives at the microscopic level, that we forget to pull back and view our lives today within the perspective of our lives as a whole - where we are today, challenges and all, compared to where we were 1, 5 or 10 years ago. Whether or not we are ahead materially, what matters is if we have moved forward in our development into the person we want to be. Are we kinder to others, less judgemental, than we used to be? Do we reach out and help those in need, or do we walk by pretending they do not exist? Do we reflect on and express gratitude for the blessings in our lives? Do we serve others? Are we making a difference in the world especially as we focus on reaching out to one person at a time?
In my experience the more we focus on our own problems the more miserable we feel, whereas the more we focus on reaching out and helping others the better we feel. I started the More Joy journey because I noticed that I was not the only woman who felt lonely even though we were very busy people in helping careers. We did not have down time, time to build relationships with compatible peers so we could become friends. I could have chosen to feel sorry for myself...and for a while I did, but instead of choosing to live there I decided to do something about it. I decided to organise More Joy Retreats. I organise them to serve the women around me - to help them acknowledge the joy already in their lives and create opportunities for More Joy. I help them dream again, and then take steps towards those dreams. Together we keep each other on track by meeting every two weeks to report on our progress to one another. It is not difficult, but it is fulfilling and has made a difference in the lives of the women around me. Have I helped them - yes! Have they helped me - yes, and our relationships are deeper and more meaningful. We are there for each other in our challenges, and we try to keep each other from living in the pit of despair. We are choosing joy, and helping each other continue to choose joy. We help each other remember that we are of infinite worth to this world and that we can make a difference in the lives of those around us. We lift each other up and lift others as well. We are choosing to focus on our blessings even while in the midst of challenges. We look for the lesson in our challenges...and there are lessons in every challenge, whether they are of our own making or not.
In every experience of service I have participated in, whether piling firewood, watching over the children of a young mother in distress, or organising and running retreats I have benefited from the service as much as those I have served. We sing and dance while we work, laugh so hard it hurts (what a great feeling to laugh that hard again!), we forget our troubles, we feel good about ourselves again and we build, strengthen and deepen relationships. So choose More Joy, there is really only despair to lose and everything to gain!