Joy In Every Journey

There is joy in every journey. It’s a blanket statement, and it’s true. Let me show you how.

“Journey” contains the word “joy”, and, without scrambling the remaining letters, also contains the word “urne”, the Middle English equivalent of “urn”. The positioning of the words is where it gets interesting – “urn” is centered within the word “journey” surrounded always by “joy”.

When I hear the word “urn” I think of the ashy remains of one’s life. My dad is in an urn. I remember seeing it for the first time – the small, simple, wooden urn – placed on a table where a casket would normally sit at the funeral home. In that moment, the urn represented death and solidified my dark, depressive feelings.

I can also vividly remember the commercial grade coffee urn used during “coffee hour” at my childhood church. Its aroma was the first greeter as I stepped out of the stairwell following Sunday morning service. The source of the aroma – the giant, shiny, silver urn – was positioned amongst coffee fixings and baked goods. The coffee urn represented security and fellowship, and my memories of it stir feelings of contentment and delight.

In both scenarios the urn is a symbol representing my own reactions and emotions to life circumstances. Enough time has passed, and I’ve done a lot of internal searching to now see my dad’s urn as a representation of life, not death. The feelings of depressive darkness are now a recollection, not my reality. As for the smell of freshly brewed coffee? One deep inhale and I’m still filled with contented, delightful feelings every time.

Similarly, how you react to life – what you carry around on the inside – is 100% your choice. You can opt for dark and depressing. It’s your urn – go ahead and fill up with desperate and despairing. Carry those dreary thoughts and emotions with you long enough and you will begin to see life as unfair and unjust. The downtrodden and downcast are a part of a downward spiraling system. You deal with incompetent idiots on a regular basis. It’s no wonder the world is going to hell in a handbasket! But, it is what it is and that’s life, which, by the way, is a bitch, and then you die. If your focus becomes doom and gloom, you will begin to see it everywhere, and it can be suffocating and soul crushing.

You have the power to pour out the depressing and fill yourself up with whatever it is that you find to be delightful by changing your reaction to life’s circumstances.

For your external assessments of the world, move away from the unfair and unjust. Look instead for honesty and open-mindedness. Ignore incompetency – notice proficiency. Dismiss idiocy – welcome intelligence. Is the world really going to hell in a handbasket? That depends on whether you’re watching Nancy Grace or Oprah. Trade in a negative attitude for one of gratitude by saying “thank you” instead of “screw you”. Stick with it long enough and you will start to exchange your frustrations for celebrations.

For your internal dealings with yourself, shed your layers of self-loathing and shroud yourself with self-love. Exchange the craving of others’ approval with a thirst for self-acceptance. Start being as kind if not kinder to yourself as you are to everyone else. Life is too short to be your own worst critic; become your own best friend. Smile at the person who meets your eye in the mirror. Say “thank you” when complimented – not an “oh please” or a dismissal (they’re subtle forms of “screw you”), but an honest “thank you”. Dare yourself to accept the kindness being offered to you in the form of words and feel the warmth of appreciation swell within your core. That’s what it feels like to be nice to yourself.

At some point, life will take some unexpected twists and turns. In an instant you might find that your shiny silver urn got replaced by a simple wooden one. That’s okay. The urn is just a representation of your reactions, and its contents – your emotions – are exchangeable. That is key. Whatever it is that you’re feeling, you don’t have to carry it around with you forever. Work through it, sift through it, and pour it out knowing that even the bleakest of urns carrying the dreariest of contents is still surrounded by joy. Joy is a constant and a guarantee should you choose to look for it. Once you focus on the joys of life, you will begin to find them everywhere, and they will be uplifting and inspiring.

There is joy in every journey. If this concept interests you, stick around and read a while.

 

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