The Road To Joy Is Not Always Pretty

Let's just say I have had a rough week. Friends needed support, children needed support, work was busy, blogging was stalled, and much, much more.

I felt like a joy failure, and I had a full-fledged meltdown...totally inappropriate for someone who writes about joy.

Summary of a Meltdown

My meltdown manifested in the following way:

I became annoyed at my husband on our anniversary for being negative and went to bed early without dessert.

I become annoyed at my sister for letting me know in the middle of the craziness what my dear nephew would like for his birthday resulting in me completely forgetting to order his gift until the day before his birthday making it late.

I became annoyed at my mom for cancelling our plans when I vented my overwhelm because it led to feelings of guilt.

I became annoyed at my son who slept until noon, and when reading my to-do list after I'd been out all day, asked if I really needed him to make dinner.

I became annoyed with my body with its symptoms of tired, muscle aches, and anxiety.

I became annoyed with my dogs for being so damn needy.

I became annoyed with myself for being too tired to work on my blogging.

I become annoyed at many, many other things in my week, but on reviewing the above list, the common denominator was...sigh...


I hate that. Here I am writing a blog on joy, not a whiny one about annoying things in our lives. I know what I'd called it though...Jane's Pains.

Joy Is Not About Having It All Figured Out

The fact of the matter is there are times when you will let yourself down. You will feel like you failed when you move out of alignment with joy.

The funny thing is that the more you work with joy, the even more angsty and dramatic you become when you disconnect from your joy source. It's like you realize that you're in disconnect and become desperate to getting back to that place with your visceral self, choosing quick fixes like snapping and outbursts to make us feel better...and they never do. Our mind though is just too scrambled to apply the logic of happy. It's a vicious circle until you end it all with a meltdown....and you eat a piece of pie.


Then as you're digesting your sugary wonder, you remember that:

You are grateful to have a wonderful husband to get annoyed with who is not always negative, and you are able to appreciate your resilient relationship in which you each get annoyed with each other and feel safe.

You are grateful to have a sister who will be so understanding as to not get too annoyed with you when your gift arrives late.

You are grateful to have a mom who cares even when you don't want to be mommed.

You are grateful for the opportunity to give your son the gift of a break from "the real world" for a short time and enjoy the delight of having him around.

You are grateful for your body because it is not all aches and pains, and the pinky finger feels really great right now.

You are grateful to have 2 dogs who follow you everywhere so you never feel alone...ever.

You give yourself compassion about your blogging and remind yourself it's a journey, not a race.

Regaining Momentum

The journey to joy is about progress, never perfection. It's about exercising that joy muscle and getting it stronger, but realizing some days that muscle is going cramp, and you will need to give it compassion and a massage...not push it harder.

But what makes it worthwhile is that when you spend as much time aligning with joy even in the angst you eventually remember the good in the bad. In a strange twist of events too when you have some time and space, you realize the these angsty moments are an opportunity to ask yourself what it is you do want....and take steps to make it happen. You do still wish that you could have figured that our before the meltdown; however, a journey of growth has never been described as pretty.

Levelling Up

Let's face it though...annoyance to joy is a long way to go, but annoyance to self-compassion is a more accessible rung on the joy ladder. The goal is to keep trying to climb a little higher from whatever step we happen to be on.

And having a piece of emotional-burnout pie helps. I highly recommend.

Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don't even want to look at.

- Pema Chodron

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