For your joy, not your misery Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Monday, 25 June 2012 23:12
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Millions of people are, as we speak, living somebody else’s life. Every time you open a women’s magazine you’ll see the deep sense of urgency in trying to find meaning in the mundane, the driving desire to give your greatest gift to the world, the longing to live a life of purpose.

The unfortunate truth is that many people will never find their purpose in life because they haven’t been living their own lives.

Life coach Bob Proctor tells the story of Keri, a school bus driver and single mom who had one drive only - to support her two small children. Kerry started studying at night and over the years clawed her way up the corporate ladder until she was making a six-figure income a year and was, to all intents and purposes, the perfect picture of success.

Keri, however, will tell you that it was life in a straightjacket. Sure, she was living the life of financial freedom she had set out to accomplish, but there was no passion, no mad rush of blood in her ears, no creativity, no audacious risks.

The real Keri was invisible. In her pursuit of success she had, very much like monks’ vow of celibacy, taken a vow of invisibility. She was living somebody else’s life. The fact that she was singularly successful at it, made it no easier for her to get up in the mornings.

So, what happens when your dream finally comes true, and you find that it wasn’t even your own dream to start off with? In her book, ‘The secret of successful failing’, Gina Mollicone-Long says that failure is a point of feedback, not a point of judgement. Failure is just a reflection of something that isn’t working on the inside. It doesn’t hold any hidden meaning about our worthiness.

As Gina says, you can’t fix your hair by combing the mirror. We all know that. To change the reflected image, you have to change yourself. It would be senseless to blame the mirror if you don’t like what you see. It would be just as senseless to make our dreams the stuff of misery when they lie shattered at our feet. Weren’t they supposed to be for our joy?

There’s a story about the Indian guru Amrit Desai that explains this. People say that he had an assortment of very rare crystals that he’d collected over many years. One day the woman who cleans his house knocked over a display case and smashed most of the irreplaceable crystals. She was in tears, but the guru shrugged and told her: “Those things were for my joy, not for my misery.”

How often do you allow a thing of pure joy to become your misery? If you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ll end up doing it with the things most important in life – your dreams, hope, and love.

In his ‘Notes from the Universe’ Mike Dooley writes something about love that is just as true about dreams. He writes that the primary roles of love are not to heal, fix, or mend. Not to soothe, cure, or ease. Not even to refresh, rejuvenate, or restore. Hardly. The primary roles of love are to “Yahoo!” “Yeehaa!” and “Whoohooo!”

You were born to love, hope and dream, “no matter the cost, no matter what someone else said, and no matter how the past once played out.”

Dreams shatter, hope fails, love hurts, but that shouldn’t stop you from finding the joy that can spring like a flower, even from the cliffs of despair. It’s Anne Morrow Lindbergh who said this. She said that for happiness one needs security, but not for joy. Joy can jump out at you unexpectedly.
You find joy whenever you’re present in your own life, whenever you start hearing the beat of your own drum and start following its rhythm. Listen out for it every day. Then do your dance. Do it regardless of how odd it might seem to those who cannot feel the beat.

It is as Nietzsche said: “And those who were seen dancing, were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

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