Bad Days and Blessings

I spend a lot of my time and thoughts figuring out how to live the life I want to live. I don't want safe-easy-comfortable. I want deep-down-rewarding-aliveness-joy. This can be a messy joy that's often confused for stress, worry, work...because often it's not packaged up all pretty and easy like opening a box of chocolates. It can look more like changing dirty diapers, cleaning up rotten potatoes that have dripped down the side of the refrigerator and under it, worrying about how much money is in the bank, wondering where we are going to live in 2 months...How can these things be joyful? Well, sometimes in the moment I don't see them as joyful. I see them as pain in the ass stuff I have to get through to do and feel what I really want to be doing and feeling. The only thing is quite often these things seem to take up our whole day. To not leave us any room or time for the doing what we dream of, for doing the things we think will make us feel joyful.

So I've decided it's time to steal back our joy. Not save it for when the conditions are perfect since it seems so rare that it happens that way. How can we have joy in these moments that feel overwhelming/unsatisfying/disappointing/plain old hard? You might not like my answer because chances are your mother's already told you this 500 times and you've heard it so much you roll your eyes...but clearly your mother has learned a thing or two in her life.

Count your blessings.

I have a beautiful baby with very regular bowel movements. I have a house to clean. I have more food to replace the rotten potatoes so we won't go hungry. I've always had just enough money to support myself and follow my dreams. I have family and friends who will definitely make sure we have at least a temporary home.

We have the choice to complain or to appreciate - that choice determines our joy, not our circumstances.

I sometimes forget I have this choice and that's when I get caught up in feeling miserable. It's really not about the specific things that are happening to me - its the forgetting I get to choose that leads me to feeling unhappy. In moments like that I give away my power. I tell joy, "Sorry, come back later. We are too busy here complaining."

And that's what it does. Joy waits for me patiently to get some perspective. To remember that I get to choose how I feel about every little thing. Quite often it takes me sitting down to write it out before I can get to that place - or laying in bed thinking about my day. But the joy comes when I let it in. It just doesn't always look like a surprise birthday party or hang gliding over the Swiss Alps. Sometimes it's just a deep satisfaction...a determined brightness that flares for a moment before I pass out from exhaustion. A moment where I realize I am living from the most honest place I can. And learning and growing every day. And even though often it feels like there is never enough time, I am *making* time. To share whatever feels like it might somehow be useful to you, my dear reader and companion on this crazy adventure we call life.