Do you have a vision, an image of your perfect life? My vision has always revolved around a house at the ocean. I can see it, feel it and even see the animals I have with me. It brings a smile to my face when I picture it. A large part of my life I really had no big dreams other than to survive or what I considered romantic notions that I put aside. Then I began to move beyond my need to just survive and began to study what this life is all about, why I am here, what rings true for me. And in that study I began chasing joy.
Oh, I read so many wonderful books, listened to informative and challenging cd’s, took classes to expand my spirituality, attended retreats and so on and so on. After each book, each class I expressed my appreciation for what I learned about myself-my humanity and spirituality-and then moved on to the next. I was sure I did not quite get it but if I took one more class then everything would come together and I would have that house at the beach and a peaceful, joy filled life. I am not saying all of the study and exploration did not help. My goodness it pushed me forward to recognizing the truth at my core. Each time I learned more and opened more. However, it was never enough. Surely there was a piece I was not getting as I was still in a job I did not particularly like or want and still not living at the ocean.
My visions of what I was to do with my life expanded and I just added that to the “what am I doing wrong” mantra. There has to be the perfect, right solution that will catapult me where I want to go. And running through it all was a belief that I had to find a way to make more money as maybe that would be the solution.
And then one day the chase stopped. I allowed the joy at my core to break through and all of a sudden it felt as if my heart would burst over looking at a beautiful cloud formation or just walking through my house. I found myself dancing and singing through the rooms for no particular reason except for the JOY of it. What happened? There came a point when in my morning quiet time I set an intention to focus on the peace and joy at my core that day. I knew it was there and it was time to remember. Some days the focus lasted all day and other days for five minutes. And that continues today. However, my chasing after joy for the most part stopped as I realized I am that. It is always with me.
No, I have not given up my dreams and visions but I do not yearn for them or feel they must be chased. There is such freedom when the chase stops. I open my heart to learning now and I know that my light shining every day is my joy. Most of the time there is no wild, exuberant dancing as I learn to recognize the quietness of joy so different from “being happy all the time.” For me it is accepting and embracing how loved I am by the Creator no matter what is going on in my life or the world.
Recently I experienced the truth beyond my dreams and visions. In the quiet one morning I asked how was I to serve that day. The answer came: “Welcome All.” To me that meant all people, all experiences that came my way that day and from that time forward. I am now welcoming joy rather than chasing it. I was given a lovely book for Christmas titled Joy (remember there are no coincidences). I end this post with a quote from Marcus Valerius Martialis along with the author’s (M.H. Clark) two word summary of it. “‘Tomorrow’s life is too late. Live today.’ Inhabit Joy.”
Are you chasing anything in your life? Is so, what? Where is your joy?