Last week I posted my review on The Book of Joy by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, with my own personal journey to finding joy. I also asked you to share the things that bring you joy in life. I have read some beautiful stories, and across the board I have found that most of us find joy through the people in our lives. It has been such a wonderful experience peeking into your moments of happiness.
One really caught my attention though. Natasha shared this honest and touching piece with me via email and I asked her if I could post it here on the site. I think she has touched on struggles that most of us face. What I love is how she has found joy not only in moments of happiness but also in moments of struggle, recognising that everything contributes to our story. Read her piece below.
As I took a leisurely scroll though Facebook the other day I stumbled across the 9Lives blog post on “Joy”. “What brings you joy?” it asked.
I found it ironic that just above this post appeared an article breaking the news that Donald Trump was the newly elected president of America, and just below was an article on the violent antagonism and racial struggles at yet another South African university.
What a time to be alive.
On a personal level, I am also experiencing a bit of a quarter life crisis. No, I haven’t filled the void with a 20-something Bieber lookalike. I am not doing a three-month pilgrimage through Spain. Neither am I close to hugging a tree.
I am, however, struggling to see the so-called “light” at the end of the tunnel of my day-to-day existence, or even that small silver lining.
It can all become overwhelming.
A simple question like “Where does your joy come from?” proves to be very relevant at this time in our history, and in my own life.
While I’m typing this I look over at my boyfriend sitting in front me, the man that I will hopefully get to spend the rest of my life with. I wonder how I have come to love someone so much in such a short time. And only a few months ago I was drinking wine with my girlfriends at 3am, thinking how lucky it was to have people in my life who value and honour me.
I have been single, I have been in horrific relationships, and I have experienced beautiful companionship. In truth, in each I have come across people to love, and each love affair has had its own unique beauty. Even if it was beauty from ashes.
There is plenty to be thankful for.
Now back to my quarter life crisis.
I guess it all comes from questioning my purpose, and aiming to live intentionally. Would it be easier to just let it all be?
Thing is, when I look back at moments of distress, of questioning boundaries, rules and even the beliefs that lie at the core of my being, I find joy. It is found in discovering myself through these difficult growing pains, and having the courage to love whatever aspects of myself I stumble upon.
It is found in discovering myself through these difficult growing pains, and having the courage to love whatever aspects of myself I stumble upon.
Scrolling further down Facebook a photo pops up from a few years back in one of those “On this Day” throwbacks. These tend to remind me of cringe worthy statuses and varsity photos that no future employer should ever lay eyes on. It also reminds me how much I have experienced since those days.
I have witnessed abuse first-hand, and I have also seen people embrace one another so tenderly that it made my heart ache.
I have seen failure and success, and how both can define a person.
Witnessing vulnerability in myself and others has given me profound insight into the power thereof. I find it amazing that witnessing all of this, experiencing the good and the bad, all of it has formed part of my story.
And most importantly, I know that all of these joys could certainly not have been found without the freedom to love, the freedom to question EVERYTHING and the freedom to witness.
It is s still a process. It is still a journey. But I know that freedom allows us, sets us free and ultimately awakens us.
This has given me insurmountable joy.
Natasha has won herself a book hamper from Penguin Random House worth R1000, with The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams, Quiet Power by Susan Cain and Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett.