Thursday, September 18, 2008

BFLFW--Principle 3: Joy Yourself

Leave it to me to take weeks to figure out how to post about joy. You can see this is a problem for me. Actually, it's something my husband and I have talked about quite frequently lately. What gives us joy? What makes us happy? Honestly, that's been hard to answer lately.

I think one of the phases you go through when facing terminal illness is a time where you just shut off your feelings to everything. Ron was told he was terminally ill when he was first diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, he's survived longer than anyone thought possible. However, it's also meant we've had to deal with the ups and downs of this for 2.5 years. This summer, Ron was in the hospital for approximately 30 days. It got to the point that I didn't know if he would survive or not. I think after being overwhelmed by fear, sadness, anger, biterness, etc., everything just shut down.

I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I think it gives my mind and body a break from all the drama. However, it does make joy elusive. What gives me joy? Not much.

I haven't completely turned into a robot though, so a few things have snuck into my heart and allowed me to feel something. KLOVE played the song "Here I Am" by my favorite band, downhere. Then, Jon Rivers announced that the guys were going to perform a few songs on KLOVE on September 23rd--the day their new album comes out. That news made me break down and cry. I had sent a message to Jon Rivers about downhere. I prayed that they would be on KLOVE, and now they are. Plus, their song is one of Jon Rivers "future favorites" on 20 The Countdown Magazine. I'm just thrilled.

Also on the music scene, Jason Gray's new album is out. I just downloaded it today and haven't listened to it yet, but I love New Way to Live. It's such a great song and so powerful for me. I've waited for a long time for this song to be released. I'm very thrilled to finally have it.

I've also been spending time running. I love to run. I really love to cross finish lines, so I race. I really enjoy weightlifting. I don't know why, but I do. I now have awesome biceps and triceps. (The bottom part of my arm is still flabby, but I'm getting better.) Sometimes lately, running and lifting seem more like chores instead of joy, but I'm still doing them. They are both good activities for my physical and emotional health, so I'm going to keep doing them even when I don't really feel like it. I don't debate about whether or not I'm going to bathe or brush my teeth. I no longer debate about exercising. I just do it. I'll talk more about that next week.

Spending time with friends is also such a joyful activity, but something I've not made the time to do lately. My friends can turn my mood around so easily. Why do I not do a better job to make time for them?

Simple things like reading a book or magazine, having a small piece of chocolate, singing with the radio in the car, petting my dogs, etc. Things things also bring me joy.

My son has been doing imitiations of cartoon characters lately. He's actually pretty good. Sometimes he has Ron and I falling about ourselves laughing. For 5 years old, the boy has an incredibly sense of humor. Ben brings me a lot of joy.

My husband brings me joy. A few days ago we celebrated our 8th anniversary. We had a real date. We went to a fancy restaurant and saw a musical. It was a very romantic evening. I just loved being with him. Sometimes it's difficult to let my husband bring me joy. It's easy for my heart to start closing off to him. It's easy to push him away. I honestly cannot fathom losing him, but something deep inside me is just so afraid. That's why it's hard to let myself experience joy from him. It's difficult to stay so vulnerable. Sometimes it's easier to harden my heart and shut off the love I have for him. It just doesn't work though. I love him too much, and that love just can't be shut out. It just comes gushing through. When that love comes through, sometimes the other emotions find me too. That's alright. I'll deal with each one as it comes.

So, what does joy have to do with weight loss? Well, I think when you have real joy in your life, you don't need to keep trying to make yourself happy with temporary pleasures, such as eating junk food. Having real joy in your life doesn't guarantee perfect eating. If it did, there'd only be one principle in this program and the book would be really short. :-) Finding what gives you joy just helps you understand you better, and that is really what this is all about.

Next week, and I do mean next week, I'm going to write about Getting the Job Done.

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