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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...

joy academy: my quest for joy

I have been given the honor of being the very first participant in the Joy Academy's challenge to do a 30-day joy quest. There will be more explanation at a later date and the opportunity to sign up for it as well, so just keep reading each day, and I'll let you know when, where, and what in better detail. Until I have links to share, I'll quickly explain what my friend, Julie/Julie Clawson/Julianne Clawson, the fabulous author of Edenbrooke and Blackmoore presently known as Julianne Donaldson, has offered me—this Joy Quest gift.

In beginning my Joy Quest, I have agreed to post something every day for thirty days that brings me joy or thoughts and resources on joy, which inherent in their sharing will emanate joy to all within my reach. And this has been my quest for several years now, so I very much look forward to giving joy a very focused approach at a time when I know I need to cultivate more joy. Some days, my words will be long—like today—but other days might just be a short thought and a photograph prompt. We shall see how it all turns out. What a gift this is to reach for something that surrounds me every day.

The fact of the matter is I need to let go of some grief I have picked up like pebbles in my pocket as of late. Grief is not something to cherish and hold onto as if it's some romantic pleasure. It eats you alive if you let it. It is necessary, but it should be used as a vehicle to find our way back to happiness and joy—a lesson learned on why we seek joy.

And now to get to the heart of my joy quest for today. Do you see that origami crane? It tells so many stories: one of love and marriage, one of healing, one of peace, one of war, one of family, history, illness, and even more.

For now, today, it tells my story of understanding. I do not know all the answers, and I certainly know I am not the solution to everyone's woes, yet I know that all my trials and suffered abuses and struggles in this life seem to transform into a means for me to be a guide and comfort to others. To realize over the years how I have been an instrument in other's finding their way a little easier, a little quicker because I have shared my experiences and knowledge has been humbling and a source of joy to me.

I've felt like I don't make a difference too many times in my life. Coming to understand that my ability to open up about my pain actually helps others has improved my ability to see that I do make a difference. I now look around me to comprehend why I am suffering, what can be learned, and begin watching for who I might help with what I've learned. Oftentimes, the ones I end up helping are strangers, passersby in this joy quest called life. Yet every once in awhile, people I hold dear surprise me with their struggles I could never have guessed but for the pull I feel toward them to reach out and help if I can and if they'll let me.

To be clear, I do not wish my trials on anyone, but life is such that people have trials. It is partly how we learn and grow into who we are to become—our best and eternal self realized.

Joy right now looks like becoming the helping hand I've always wished to be. Joy in this moment is a purple Japanese origami crane that teaches me how joy can be found in the intricate folds of the everyday experience. The painstaking effort it takes to create something so simple yet exquisite is part of the joy process. Each fold represents a change that gets us closer to becoming who we are meant to be. Let us see our folds and edges as a means to the joy waiting for us if we will reach for it.

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