Years ago there were several articles on what type of person are you. Are you one who finds joy in having lots of things? Are you one who finds joy in doing lots of things? Are you the one who finds joy in simply being? Even though there seems to be a bias in these questions, there is none. The key is in knowing where you find your joy.
I have family and friends who find great joy in their collection of certain things, especially if they had to work to gain those collections. I have other family and friends who find joy in doing – the volunteer work, the church work, the civic work, their jobs, all their children’s activities, etc. And I have friends who find their joy in simply being and seeing what life brings to them each day. The key is finding out who you are. This seems simple, but in reality, unless you are tuned into to your private self regularly, you can be convinced that other roads lead to your peace, your joy, your path.
In my youth, I was blessed with two beautiful sisters. This caused the family to say about my more plain looks, well, maybe Sheila will be smart. As simple as that statement was, it got into my psyche, and I became driven to prove my worth by my brain power instead of my looks. I became an honors student, went to college, to graduate school, and to a doctoral program.
In my 20s, I married because that was what everyone was doing. Part of me married to get family members off my back and to be normal (whatever that meant). I tried to fit in by creating a home I thought I should have. I purchased the hardwood cabinets and had curios. Though I enjoyed looking at my collections for a while, I eventually stopped looking at them and took no joy in cleaning them. I purchased serving dishes to be a proper hostess only to discover that I’m not a good cook or hostess.
Determining I’m not a ‘haver’, I turned to being a ‘doer.’ In my 30s and 40s, I concentrated on work and doing. I worked hard and excelled. I was driven to reach a certain grade, a certain title, a certain salary. I succeeded but at a driven rate. My health suffered; and I learned that no matter how much I did, there was still more to do. I was never at done.
However, there were glimpses of ‘being’ during this time. I had a friend who often offered her beautiful Arizona home for me once a year for a respite. By simply taking care of her dog, her garden, and her house, when she was way for a week or so, I had this beautiful sanctuary with amazing sunsets and wild eagles flying overhead. I would bring a few things to do, but eventually, I was concentrating on walking in nature, enjoying where I was, and just being. Also during this time, I found that time on the water was great for my being. Again, I would take books and things to do, but eventually, I would find myself simply being where I was. It was in the being that I found my joy, my peace.
Because I am not independently wealthy or have a trust fund, I work full time. However, now that I know that I find my joy in my being, instead of doing or having, I’ve learned to carve out time to be. I guard my weekends, ensuring I have one day just for me. I set aside time regularly to commune with nature and just be. I say no to things I don’t want to do and yes to things I want to do. This sounds simple, but it took me a few decades to figure this out.
In typical fashion, when I was thinking about writing about being, a book popped up for me. It is called Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald. I love it when there is a book that validates what I was already thinking. The next few posts will go into this subject further using points from this book. A final thought….no matter whether you are having, doing, or being, if you are not experiencing soul joy, make time to slow down and allow your soul to catch up.