Imagine waking up at 7:00a.m. on a Sunday morning to the sound of a shrill alarm going off and realizing the horror or your choice the last evening to place your phone far out of reach so you can’t just rollover and turn it off. That’s just the situation I found myself in less than four hours ago when I heard the screeching of the alarm.
In just a few days I begin another turn around the sun and I’m determined to make time count, to make this year count. I had an amazing realization a few days ago–I have allowed myself to be a victim when I no long am one and haven’t been in ages except for circumstances where I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO BE A VICTIM BY ALLOWING PEOPLE, PLACES, AND SITUATIONS to take up rent in my head. They didn’t pay me rent, but I paid a price. I paid rent where I didn’t need to.
I paid rent every time I reacted to a person, place, or situation. Every time I felt anger, every time I felt my blood boil, every time (well almost every time) I cried, every time I didn’t live in the moment I paid rent. I paid rent by not living MY LIFE. I don’t know whose life I was living but it wasn’t mine.
A few years ago one of my friends told me about the possibility of growing through joy and I never really grasped what he meant. I teach literature at the University level and I can tell you from experience that most literature happens to have depressing overtones and undertones. So, naturally, I’d think the only way to learn and to grow involves suffering.
But does it really? Does growth require sadness and pain or is that the default we learn through our environment? Maybe growth through joy has possibilities. Maybe we don’t see those possibilities because we have become so conditioned to thinking we need to feel pain.
How do we then transmute the source of our learning moments from ones of pain and suffering to ones of joy? The answer is simple really. Quite simple. We create those moments where we learn from joy. We take action that brings joy to ourselves. And then we share that joy with others.
This takes work and effort. Sometimes creating that joy means removing yourself from a person, place, or situation and then moving toward that which makes you want to laugh, really laugh, laugh so hard you think you’ll never stop. It also means knowing, really knowing that no decision you make is permanent.
By centering yourself in joy, you’ll find that the way you see things changes. Another friend said to me years ago that “we’re all bozos on this bus.” He was right then and he’s still right today.
I’m a bozo on this bus, but I’m determined to be a happy joyful one. I can make that choice every moment–that choice to be happy and to laugh. I know situations will arise that might bring me pain, BUT I also know I don’t have to react in the moment. I can step back. Take a moment. Take a day. Take a few days. Allow the answer to come. Sometimes the universe will resolve it for me, and sometimes it will give me the answer I need to resolve it myself.
When I woke up this morning and heard the alarm I knew I had a choice to make: get up and go to yoga or lay around in bed and go later. I’ve had enough days where I’d go later, so, at the very last minute I got up and went to yoga. I made a choice for me. And it was the best choice I could have made.
Make the best choice for you. Make the choice that will make you smile from a place so deep inside that no one and nothing can erase it. That’s how to learn and grow from joy.