Cultivating Joy

“Live Your Own Life
If You Are Living Someone Else’s Life
It Is Hard to Be Happy”
unknown author

Life can be a rollercoaster but how we live it affects our joy.

I am a mother, wife, boss, and daughter to an ailing mother. I have a new puppy and I want to develop an integrative center for women’s holistic health care.

It’s been a really hard year for me and for much of it I lost my joy because  I felt pulled in so many directions. I’ve been in the middle of many family dramas (and participated in them to boot). I was out of balance and as I look back, I know exactly how I lost my center.

As the year unfolded I discontinued many of my self-care practices. I am a nurturer by nature; I am also ritualistic. For years I would wake up with the sun, do an hour of yoga and meditate. That set the stage for my day and for my life. I also know that I need at least 24 hours just nesting in my home, it’s important for me to eat healthy, be in nature, and I love to hike. This is who I am and when I incorporate all of these things into my life, I am happy and peaceful.

I want to be there for my family. When my mother began to decline and was diagnosed with cancer my world took on a life of its own. It left me raw and vulnerable and I felt worn out. The pull between family and career stretched me beyond my limits. My life began to spin and I stopped my self-care practices.

In being depleted my perceptions changed, I became preoccupied with the struggles of day to day activities and the drama going on around me. I found little if any peace; I became unsettled by the smallest event and I felt very little joy! When I do not take care of myself my body lets me know. It was screaming at me!

I know and still know in my heart that I will be there for my mother. I love her! However, I reached a breaking point around a month ago. I was driving to my mothers to spend the night and I really did not want to go. I felt really salty and had to give myself a pep talk. It was the first time I had these thoughts and it felt bad. That was my wakeup call and I realized it was time to return to what brings me peace: yoga, meditation, nature and nesting.

I returned to my first loves, yoga and meditation. It had been six months since I stretched my tired, weary body and in just a few days I could feel the peace and joy bubbling to the surface. I am so grateful that just a little bit of self-care effort had such a profound effect on my state of well- being.

I still have the same responsibilities, caring for my mother, running a business, being a mom and wife but I’ve made a few tweaks. I now practice daily what brings me peace and my joy has returned. 

What brings you peace? What tweaks can you make to recapture your joy factor?