Choose joy

Joy is what comes after the transition

Every 20 years or so I go through a fairly major period of transition which creates turmoil as long as I resist what is. When I am open and willing something new and wonderful opens up.

My first major transition occurred in my thirties and that was scary as it resulted in a total life change. When I was in my late forties I felt directionless and in total despair at the thought that where I was at was all my life was going to be. As I searched for a better way to live I discovered a whole new career and lifestyle.

Most of the time I’m okay with this time in my life, but there are moments when doubt sets in I and have concerns. These are usually centred around whether anyone will be interested in what I have to say as I get older. Will I be able to work in years to come? What happens when friends start dying? Will I still have be as passionate about life as I am today? Will I have enough money to live the life I want to live?

At these times it is so very easy to slip back into our stories. Our story is what we tell others, and ourself, about why our life is the way it is. It is the conversation that we repeatedly have with a friend about something or someone who irritates us. It is the problem that keeps recurring. Our stories are such a familiar part of us that most of the time we cannot see how our stories are running our lives.

Our stories can be about feelings, relationships, health, work, money and lifestyle. It often becomes the conversation we engage in when we feel stressed or challenged.

Our stories include choices and decisions we have made about what we can have, what we are capable of and how supported or loved we feel. And if we are not careful our stories can become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Stress is just another name for fear

Until we live mindfully our stories can easily run our lives. The more mindful we are the easier it becomes to recognise when we are feeling stressed, or when we are indulging in self-defeating patterns of behaviour. Stress is the wake up call we often need to change what we are doing. The easiest thing we can do is to stop talking about our problems and to stop resisting what is.

My go to strategy when my life isn’t flowing is to pause and tune into my emotions. Recently I recognised that I was feeling fearful and as my fears were getting all my attention I had attracted other fearful people into my life. I started forgiving myself and the people whose behaviour was bugging me. I started focusing on appreciation and gratitude. Within hours life started flowing again.

While most people dislike change life transitions always present us with wonderful opportunities. Practice sitting with your emotions. Accept that the quickest way to change your life is to accept what you don’t like. Stop worrying about what others think. Use this time to focus on joy. Ask yourself what a joyful life looks like? What a joyful day looks like? And start working towards it.

Joy is the gift we give ourselves.



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