Finding the Joy

I was sitting in yoga class this morning… ok not sitting, down-dogging? And I was hating it. For some reason, I just wasn’t connecting with the “flow”. My breath was all over the place, simple movements seemed extra hard, and I was very wiggly. And this was in the first 5 minutes. 55 more to go I told myself… yay.

Then my teacher told us to find a word, any word, but something we needed. Strength was the first one to come to mind, but no, I really didn’t need strength. Balance? yeah, ok, could use that, but not really connecting with it. Calm? Power? Focus? I guess, but that just wasn’t what I really wanted at the moment. Then a word floated into me… a word that gets thrown around a lot, but I think is sorely misunderstood. Joy. It’s a beautiful word. Something we all strive for, desire, and want. For me, joy seems elusive most of the time. Like I’ve stated before, I tend to be a premium worrier and see the bad before I ever see the good. So yeah, I guess I need joy.

So that was my word, my focus for the workout. I was to ponder, explore, and capture, joy. But how the crap am I going to do that when I’m struggling so hard? I can’t possibly find joy when I’m not liking what I’m doing! And then it hit me… well ok, it took a few sun salutations, but I finally came to a realization.

Joy is not mutually exclusive of struggle.

Easy does not equal Joy.

In fact, joy is usually found out of struggle, out of hardship, out of pain.

I realized that when I give up because something it’s hard, I never feel more joyful afterwards. In fact, I’m usually more unhappy than when I was doing the hard stuff. But when I struggle and work through something and finally reach the other side, or that goal I was striving for, THAT is when I find joy.

Joy is not found when life is easy, when everything goes right. Real joy is not when you reach perfection or life runs smoothly.

Not. At. All.

We find joy when we work hard, push forward, find the gratitude, and reach a point when we are “ok” with the struggle. Life is going to send us hardships. It’s going to happen. Taking the easy way will never result in joy. Yeah, exercise is hard, so is eating right. So is being a parent, working a full-time job and going to school, quitting smoking or facing that fear. Life is hard. But that is the good stuff. We shouldn’t run away when things get hard, we should fight! push! dance and sing! We should enJOY the hard stuff. Joy is working hard and reaching that goal. Joy is in the midst of struggle. Joy is nestled right down in the middle of the sticky stuff.

You can’t have a rainbow without rain. You can’t find joy without pain…. too cheesy? 🙂

Yes, life is hard, and we all give up at times. And yes, it’s harder for some than others. I’ve battled a long time with depression and anxiety, I get it. Life can really suck, and it can take a lot of energy, a lot of hurt, and a lot of falling and getting back up; but there is sunshine behind those clouds. I promise.

And when you break through that barrier. You reach that goal. You face that fear…

That is Joy. That is where joy lives. And when you really realize that, joy doesn’t seem so elusive anymore. It’s easier to find, to discover, to reach even in the midst of pain and struggle.

So next time you find yourself in a really hard workout, or staring down the candy aisle, or thinking there’s just no way you could possibly lose one more pound… find your joy.


Love and JOY,



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