about a journey to joy

although i haven’t been always intentional about it, i have always been mindful about being joyful, even in the commotion of life.

my journey for joy started many many years ago.

at age 6, my grandmother passed away.

at age 8, my father broke his back on christmas morning.

at age 13, a kid at my middle school held a classroom hostage with a gun.

at age 16, i began a struggle with an eating disorder and mentally abusive relationship.

at age 19, i got divorced from my first husband.

at age 22, my 18 year old brother hunter, passed away unexpectedly.

at age 26, kevin and i saw a marriage counselor for the first time.

at age 28, i acknowledged my struggles with depression, anxiety and ptsd over the years.

don’t get me wrong. i was sad, angry, hurt, confused, depressed and genuinely mourning each time a trial occurred in my past, however, it was in these moments of deep anaguish that i was also able to find moments of great happiness. i knew that i needed an out so that i didn’t get trapped in the darkness that comes with trials.

is it possible to feel joy, even in moments of pain and suffering?

i answer that with an astounding yes!

i have always sought joy in my life and used joy to overcome trials. i’ve had an ability to know that i needed to surround myself with postive people and activities in oder to make it through these hard expereinces.

it wasn’t until my 29th birthday, after one of the hardest years of emotional stress, did i understand the difference between having happy moments and intentionally creating a joyful life.

my husband and i sat down at the end of 2017 and after what should have been an incredible year, birth of our son, traveling to different countries, healthy children, happy marriage, we both felt exhausted, overwhelemed and anything but genuinely joyful. sure we were “happy” but the term seemed to wisk away into thin air as quickly as it came out of our mouths. we were happy with our big house and fancy trips, but one tiny inconvenience, marital disagreement or change of plans led to stress and bitterness.

we realized that our lives had been filled with happy moments, but that we weren’t living a happy life.

now, whats the difference you say.

for us, the difference was wanting to be able to feel joy even in the inconveniences and hard moments instead of having to dig and create them to feel better after a hard experience.

it is possible to feel joy and be sad. it is possible to feel joy and be hurt. it is possible to feel joy and not know whats next.

after a drastic change in focus of things that mattered most, a shift in priorities, intentions and being more present in the moment, we have found the joy that is inherently in each of us. we have been able to use actionable tools to keep joy a constant in our lives. we have re-dsicovered that joy isn’t just about being happy. joy is a much deeper, spiritual and consuming emotion that is exempt from no one.

we have felt inspired to become joyful activist in hopes to create a community where we can all support each other in creating a happier world.