Death as Lesson

Last week, it was Robin Williams, who was strangled by the relentlessness of depression. And now, we have courageous journalists slaughtered by savages. Last month, it was Paula, and this week, Mark, both friends in their fifties whose hearts betrayed them swiftly and decisively. The list goes on and on, of lives extinguished prematurely.

I am jolted by this. I am mobilized into a flurry of list-making…goals I have yet to reach, people and places to visit, books not written, fences still unmended, relationships untended, legacy undefined. But what looms largest? Joy Not Experienced. This to me means Purpose Unrealized. I am stricken most by Joy Procrastination. I will allow myself joy when my taxes are paid, when my house is repaired, when my relationship improves, when I am ten pounds lighter.

No, no, no! No longer will I wait for JOY to descend upon me. I will seek out joy, make friends with her, I will find fleeting glimpses of her in the flowers at my Farmers Market, in an exuberant video on Facebook, in a rising super moon in the night sky, in my baby niece’s giggles.

In working with my coach, I will make JOY my top priority, ahead of the book and the blog and the speaking engagement. Those are things to be done, which I know I will make happen with time and focus. No longer will I be a JP (Joy Procrastinator.) Today, I declare as Priority1 the care and feeding of a joyful soul. MY.joyful.soul. I will inhale every delicious morsel of joy that I can squeeze out of my moments on earth. I will gently yet ceremoniously dismantle the stories and situations that compound any joylessness of my past.

Amazing. I feel so much lighter now…like I lost the ten pounds in the letting go of joylessness. I know that I will falter and rebound in my journey, but my path is clear and my purpose defined. What are you holding on to that is keeping you from your joy? What will it take for you to put aside your stories and embrace the JOY that is available to you now, today. Won’t you join me in my adventure? I would love the company.

by Mary Lotto Ross