Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fiercely Choose JOY

Or whatever you most desire in life . . . choose it FIERCELY. . . as if your very next breath, your very life, depended upon it.

Because it DOES.

I know this sounds dramatic, but I can't emphasize enough how critically IMPORTANT your choice is. 

We make choices every day.  Every minute.  Every second.  And they can lead us down into a spiral of sadness, depression, anxiety, or pain.  OR . . . they can lift us UP.  Dragging us out of the mire.

Our youngest daughter turned 17 this past week and has been living on her own to pursue her dreams, her passion, for the past half year.  People ask me, "How could you let your 16-year-old move to a major city to live on her own?"  My question, "How could I stand in the way of her dream?"  So we fiercely support her, lift her, carry her as much as we possibly can in a long-distance-sort-of-way. 

Sometimes, understandably, our Young One struggles with overwhelming worry and anxiety that generally stems from putting WAY too much pressure on herself.  Yesterday she said something that almost left me dead in my tracks.  Not a surprising situation considering that she's a bright, perceptive, and intuitive young woman.  But I almost didn't know what to say to help lift her out of her mire.  And, hey!, that's my job!

Some background.  She and I were discussing how the questions we ask ourselves profoundly affect how we feel.  How our minute-to-minute questions shape our daily lives.  As humans, we are always asking ourselves questions--it's our nature to be curious and to learn.  So we ask questions.  Notice it today.  You might be surprised by how many questions you ask yourself or how many over-arching statements you make about your life. 

My point to her . . . make sure these questions or statements bring you closer to the life you want, to the feelings you want.

So she tells me, "Yes.  I do feel better when I ask questions that get me closer to feeling happy and confident.  But those OTHER questions are still there.  Can I do it?  Am I good enough?  Will I achieve my dreams?  They don't go away.  They are STILL there."  God, she's smart!  It sometimes makes my job so hard! 

My reaction? . . .  "She's RIGHT!  How am I EVER going to get out of this "truth" to help her pull herself up?"  Breathe.  Reflect.  Go inside.  I look to my own truth.  The only way I can help others is by sharing the truth I KNOW deep inside me. 

Look.  And there I see it.  Those questions of "TRUTH" that every person like me who lives with chronic pain has way down deep in their depths that can make us completely fall apart in tears.  The questions of "Why me?  Why do I have to live with this pain?  Why can't I live like other people and do the things I want to?  Why do I have to build a life around restriction, pain, and more pain? Etc. Etc." 

Immediately, I share these AWFUL AND DARK questions with my daughter.  My daughter who KNOWS the pain I live with.  My daughter who has seen it all.  Times in the ER.  Times in a wheelchair.  Vacations cancelled.  Outings cut short or cancelled.  Oh, God!  The list could go on and on and on and on . . .  I SO wish I could have shielded her from these experiences. 

As I tell her these things . . . am asking these dark questions . . .  I'm holding back the tears and feel the downward spiral swallowing me.
But I FIERCELY hold on. 
It's important to share so that she, so that YOU, can learn to climb out of your own pits of darkness.

The answer?  I CHOOSE not to let these questions lead my life.  I CHOOSE to focus on other questions.  Questions that bring JOY.  Questions that lead me away from the darkness and towards the light. 

Every day I wake up and DECIDE how I want to feel.  While I'm still in bed I ask, What am I grateful for?  Who do I love?  What do I want to feel today?  And my answer everyday is . . .
I want to feel JOY!  I want to feel ALIVE!  I want to feel FREE from pain, past and present! 

I choose these feelings FIERCELY.  As if my life depended on it.  Because it does.  I have other feelings I want to feel, too.  Creative.  Abundance.  Generous.  BUT if I can just get to the first one, the all-important one for me . . . JOY . . .  that's good enough!  The others will follow.  They are all connected.

And all through the day, every moment, every second, I examine the questions I ask myself.  The statements.  The beliefs I'm focusing on.  And if they lead me to darkness . . .
I CHANGE the QUESTION until I'm lead to LIGHT!
I hope this helps even just one of you to choose to focus more on light today.
What about you?  Do you have any thoughts that might help us all lean towards the light, towards a happier life?  I know that we would all LOVE to hear them below in the comments sections.
Love and Hugs,


  1. Hi Cheryl, I know completly where you are coming from. I too have been racked with pain for years. I would wake up and instead of thinking what I can't do I would make myself think what I can do. Yes we can chose Joy, Yes we can still be creative. (I would lye in bed knitting for the children, until my arms thought they would drop off.) I worried that my children had to do too much work around the house. Now I know it didn't hurt them one bit. Infact it made them more caring and understanding adults. So many things we can be grateful for.
    I love what you wrote, it is a great post.
    hugs Kay

    1. Thanks, Kay, for sharing!! It's great to hear that your kids came only for the better for having to grow up with a Mommy in pain. I've found that, too. For years, I felt guilty, but now I see that they are just more compassionate and understanding people because of it.
      Love and Hugs,

  2. Cheryl, I so enjoyed reading this. The second set of questions your daughter mentioned are always with us. Yes, we get to choose which questions we answer.

    1. I love the way you put that, Dixie. So simple, yet so true! "Yes, we get to choose which questions we answer." Thanks for sharing!
      Love and Hugs,


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