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What Gives You Joy?

I worked with therapists over decades sifting through my emotions gleaning the pieces that define who I am and what makes me happy. I uncovered a lot of pain and I discovered facets of who I am that appeared as pebbles in the road but grew to boulders and boundaries that defined me. A mantra emerged that holds my essence. The mantra seemed to come out of nowhere, but when said out loud became part of everything in my life:

I am a warrior

Free and proud

Openness is my battlefield

Truth is my sword

Illusion is my enemy

God is my ally.

My joy is defined by the stark truth of inner beauty; my joy emerges at a glorious sunset; my joy emerges in the resilience of spirit as I witness other warriors emerging through a dark time; my joy is feeling truth as it is spoken; my joy bubbles up as I listen to my grandchildren; my joy is feeling the wealth of compassion and patience as I witness one with courage facing their mirror. This joy is steadfast lasting well beyond the life-expectancy of any “thing.” My joy finds more joy and this joy grants me peace. I’ve witnessed your joys in your reflections and sharings. What gives you joy?


By Derek Walcott

“The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you”

“all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,”

“the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.”

Participants’ Reflections:

• Brought self to joyous place. Transforming, so peaceful

• Little things bring me joy, husband’s breath, excitement

• Other day was down. Rearranged furniture and felt shift and joy and new perspective

• So often we focus on what's wrong. Can focus on scrapbook of good things

• Thought of all the simple things that give me joy. Much more enjoyable

• Loved what you wrote. Could see the words falling around me like leaves. I feel taller, lighter

• Got potting soil. Planting gives me joy

• Chalking messages of joy on neighborhood sidewalks

• We have the ability to use our mind to help us. We can do something physically or with our mind to move from pain. Don’t have to build a tent

• We are energy bodies, our energy auras widen

• I clear my mind and ideas come. It's a joy

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