"Joy is not in 'things' - it is in us."
That is the message inside a Christmas card that we are giving away this year. The cute little message comes with a picture illustrated my talented boyfriend which features a dog wear antlers too large with a comically sad look on his face. From the cover you would expect some kind of funny message, instead the sentence is simple. I have rolling this sentence over and over in my head this Christmas Eve as I consider this last year of my journey.
Can I call it a journey if I rode an emotional roller coaster and nearly abandoned pole? Yes. I have spent many months thinking, not moving, sitting in silence *almost silence, since February we've shared our home with a mouthy Savannah Cat* reevaluating myself and my life's purpose. In pole dancing we find ourselves hitting plateaus, unable to conquer the next move, the next thing, the next step...and if pole dancing has taught me anything it's that sometimes you need to shelf things for a minute and create a plan to get past the plateau.
How do you get past life's plateaus, life's sometimes dreariness, life's sometimes negative rocks being thrown at you one after another? How do you find joy in a seemingly vacant alley of sadness? I think most of us get pretty sucked in and start catering to sadness, start telling the negativity that it's right. I think we let ourselves fall into self sabotaging cycles. For the record, I am a fan of letting yourself sabotage your own plans once in a while. If we don't cry, if we don't ask questions, if we don't sit silently - we never grow. Growth generally comes after a difficult period. Look at the pole. Only after several days, months or years of training, pushing and driving ourselves nuts do we find some of those elusive and impressive tricks. We often let our fear, lack of spotters, lack of training, lack of background - whatever it is - keep us from achieving what we are capable of - because not doing something about it is sometimes easier. Then comes that rapture of finally tasting that elusive move and then comes JOY! Pure, unadulterated JOY! Think about it. If you just walked up to the pole and did a fonji without effort - would you have enjoyed the fonji as much? Then it occurs to me the joy we feel in those moments of sweet success is the joy of overcoming failure, fear and time. The move (thing) is great but the joy came from our struggle.
I speak of joy today because this is the season we are supposed to feel joyous yet many of us are working hard to create joy for others. Creating joy is stressful, it's a struggle. As many parents know, it can be hard to keep the kids out of the cookies and presents *or in my case the cat out of the tree.* We're shopping and running around and all of this joy creates hardship, people taking your parking spot at the store when you clearly had your turn signal on to take it, long lines, antsy customers. This joyous time of year also sheds light on those not as fortunate. I also think of the amazing people who give up their joyous holiday to serve us - police officers, doctors, nurses, fire fighters, military men and women, gas station attendants, and the list goes on and on.
I know many of us at this moment ARE feeling joy, that's why it's good to consider where joy comes from and be thankful for all of our own struggles and the struggles of other.
Joy is truly within each of us and I hope this Holiday season all of you have been able to take a moment and experience the sheer joy of existence, have taken a moment to be thankful to our friends, loved ones, those who serve us and even those who perhaps we don't entirely like. I hope we can all take our joy and share it with one another.