Have you ever walked away, or distanced yourself, from a situation you thought was detrimental to your joy only to find that wasn't the entire solution? When I'm in this position, it's usually because there are emotions associated with the situation that I haven't dealt with. So I do my level best to muster the strength and courage to walk out of the situation but step in to any corresponding pain, sadness, anger, etc., and deal with it head-on for however long it takes. Now I know there are plenty of folks who do whatever is possible to avoid dealing with their emotions. If that works for them, fine. But in my life, I've found that trying to avoid my emotions results in carrying baggage. And that baggage gets heavy and begins to weigh me down. Without attention and resolution, the weight of that baggage may then begin to weigh on other aspects of my life. There's certainly no joy in that.

I once had a professor who said to students unprepared for class, "[y]ou can pay me now, or you can pay me later." He made it clear that, as with most other debt, paying later meant paying with interest. For me, this concept likewise applies to emotional debt. Sometimes it's not possible to handle debt (of any kind) on our own. It may require assistance--for example, debt counseling, debt forgiveness, etc. Whatever it takes, I want to pay those debts as soon as possible. The only time I want to carry baggage is on a trip. My goal is: no trip, no baggage.
Are the lives we lead consistent with what we say we need; we want; is important to us? Do we want to be healthy yet engage in unhealthy behavior(s)? Do we need financial stability yet spend everything we earn and then some? Do we say we are tired of drama yet create drama ourselves or surround ourselves with others who do? Do we say we are tired of clutter yet continue to collect and/or fail to clean, clear out or declutter our homes, offices, etc.? Do we say we want to eliminate the baggage in our lives yet refuse to take steps to unpack it? Do we say we have goals and/or dreams yet fail to take steps to pursue them? Do we say that something within our control must change yet fail to do what's necessary to make the change? Do we say we want/need a different job yet fail to pursue other opportunities? Do we say our lives are unfulfilling yet fail to seek fulfillment? Do we say we're exhausted and over-extended or -committed yet fail to make adjustments? Do we say we need/want to accomplish a task yet procrastinate and, ultimately, leave it undone? Do we say we need more yet fail to count our present  blessings?

Is the life you lead consistent with what you say you need, want, and/or is important to you? I don't know about you, but I have "a little" work to do.
Here's a poem I wrote about joy:

Cannot be explained;
Cannot be contained;
Touches everything and
Everyone in its path;
May not change who or
What it touches;
But leaves a definite impression;
Has an automatic memory bank;
So no matter the circumstance,
It's sure to return.

©Natalie Taylor, 2002



1 Comment

When cooking meat, it's often necessary to baste it periodically to ensure the meat is tender and appetizing. Maybe the maintenance of our lives is a lot like basting, huh? Whether it's our relationships, jobs, businesses, organizations, committees, goals, etc., rather than assuming things will work out as planned, or as we think they're supposed to, it's important to conduct periodic checks--and adjust as necessary--to make sure things aren't dry, lackluster, unappealing, and/or becoming too tough to salvage.