Yes, I know Joy is not a person (apologies to all the Joys out there--it's a lovely name) but it is really important to me. And since I am pretty unfamiliar with Joy, I need to understand what Joy looks like. Hence.... Joy.
Mirriam Webster Online Dictionary defines Joy as:
a : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.
I grew up in a nice house, in a small town, with two parents, a stay home mom, a dad with a good job, a pool in the yard, a couple of vacations a year and lacking for nothing. My expectation was that I would eventually be in a better place than my parents were. Enter divorce, single mommy, workaholic, depression, financial ruin, etc. So when I use the yard stick of my childhood to measure my life against, I feel all sorts of things---but mostly what I feel like is a failure. This has been going on for some time and the harder I worked at being a mom, housekeeper, employee (and doing each one poorly I thought) the more frustrated, overwhelmed and further from Joy I felt (which is why I feel like an extra large failure when I ended up in hospital and couldn't do anything...)
Lately though, I have felt an ever so slight shift in my definitions of success, and I am reconnecting with things that I desire (strangely enough, they are often the same things, I just need to look at them differently).
For example: I love the satisfaction of a clean house and I love to finish a project and the sense of fulfillment it brings. Since you cannot possibly clean every single part of your house...there is no way I can be successful at a) cleaning my house and b) finishing the project of cleaning my house. So instead, I have taken to doing one thing, like clean out the pantry. I put on some of my favorite music and when I am done, I admire my work and celebrate with some mineral water and frozen fruit (ok occasionally a handful of Oreos).
With the help of my therapist and wonderful people in the program, I have come to understand that what is flawed with my thinking is just that...my thinking. Almost 20 weeks out of the hospital --9 weeks after the adult day treatment program and I am just starting to nudge my 46 years of beliefs about well-being, success, good fortune and what I desire. (This also stresses me out because part of me thinks I should have figured everything out by now and be back at work ruling the world that is my domain...)
Thing is, work---is the same. My spouse and kids are basically--the same. The dust in my house, the dishes in my dishwasher, the laundry to be done, the dogs to be bathed--same, same, same, same. The only thing I can chage....is me....which means, with support, poking holes in my 46 year old belief system. Right now they are very small..the holes I mean. Teeny, tiny holes. Sometimes I poke a hole and it closes right up behind me and I gotta poke it again. Eventually, I am hoping to make some progress.
Because somewhere in there....I will find my Joy.
(The top picture is my pantry before---the bottom is after--cleaned 5 days ago. I was discouraged to see there was not all THAT much different. And frankly, if you looked now, it would look a lot like the top picture...so maybe, it is not all that important in the first place? Hmmmmm....poke, poke....)