Sunday, 5 May 2013

Searching for Joy....

Ok so for the past few posts I have been talking about Joy. Looking for Joy. Finding Joy.  Inviting Joy in.  Embracing Joy. All seems a bit rushed don't you think?  I mean really, I hardly KNOW Joy and here I am searching for her, inviting her in, embracing her?  (Yeah, that is the voice of the scared kid in my --not so sure I want to play around in the emotional sandbox.  Sand gets in your eyes, your shorts, it's dirty and smells funny and someone ends up crying--and it is usually me).

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.
 
Let's start by assuming that to understand Joy, I need to know what I consider well-being, success, good fortune and I must know what I desire. (No wonder this is so hard for me and why Joy so elusive).  This is where an understanding of how I grew up comes into play. 
 
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....)

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