I’ve been thinking a lot about joy lately, and particularly about joy as an indicator of living in alignment with your purpose.
We dove deep into this topic earlier this week in my “Surviving and Thriving in Your Empty Nest: Mindful Tools to Keep You Fulfilled, Focused, and Moving Forward” workshop. Most of us don’t give a lot of thought to what brings us joy, especially when we’re in the weeds of raising kids. We’re happy when our kids are happy, so we expend most of our energy creating the conditions for their growth, development, and happiness. But what happens when that big chunk of our sense of purpose and joy moves out of the house?
Since my youngest flew the coop for college about a month ago, people keep asking me, “How are you doing with your empty nest?”
I’ve been fascinated by the huge range of emotions I experienced in the run-up to and through launching both my kids into the world. Some tears, some grief, some worry have been part of that brew, to be sure. And what a nice problem to have, right?
Now that the dust is settled a bit, I can honestly say that I feel true joy, even though I still miss them.
Crazily enough, I have cancer to thank for this joy. Cancer is what slapped me into present moment awareness in 2009 and launched me into mindful living. Mindfulness practice, and, in my case, daily meditation in particular, familiarized me with the feeling of joy in my body and cleared out the thought clutter that stood in the way of me not only embracing that sense of joy, but also acting upon it.
Step by step, I allowed myself to follow my inspiration even when I had no idea where it would take me. I showed up for myself, shifted my thinking from “Can I…” to “How Can I…”, and simply trusted that paying attention to what felt joyful in my body was the path to purpose. Most of my time was still spent on parenting, but I intentionally directed some of my energy to my own personal development as well, knowing that it made me a better parent in the process.
Standing at the threshold of this next chapter of my life, I feel excited and ready to step more fully into that joy, trusting my own inspiration, moving through fear of the unknown, and just GOING for it!
Thank you so much for your support and encouragement along the way!!
Just a reminder that it’s not too late to sign up for my next 30-Day Mindfulness Meditation Challenge, which begins this Monday, September 18, at 6:45 a.m. ET. For further details and to register, click here.
And for local friends, hope to see you on Tuesday, September 19, 7 pm, at Bard’s Alley, 110 Church St NW, Vienna, VA, 22180 for my talk and slide presentation (including pretty flower pictures!) on “How to Boost Your Productivity, Creativity, and Inner Calm With Mindfulness Practice.”
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