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“Joy is a state of being, it is natural to us, if we know how to return to our natural state [Original Beauty], it is abundant for us to tap into and fill our being with it.

“Enjoy is an act /expression. Enjoy the game, enjoy the food, enjoy the conversation etc. etc. implies an act /expression that has resulted with connection, engagement, effort, and play.

“Joy makes it easy to enjoy. We tend to enjoy everything we do and around us with joy. When we do not have joy, we need to work harder to enjoy, we have to look for [a] high for our senses and mind, hence we will fall behind the addiction.” ~Nataraja Upadhya

I enjoy many things. I enjoy time with my friends, family, and my menagerie (ponies, puppies, ducks, birds, and hopefully soon, a mule). I enjoy writing, reading, and not arithmetic! I enjoy just sitting in nature or hiking through her. I enjoy biking, playing the piano, and so much more.

Yet, recently, I found myself in a situation where I felt as though all the pleasure of the things I enjoy was being sucked out of it by another person’s behavior. I did not handle it well, to say the least.

It took a few days and a bit of very helpful conversation with a deep-soul friend before I realized that no one can take away the pleasure I receive from things I enjoy unless I give them the power over me to do so. In other words, I was not taking responsibility to remember that a person has a choice as to how to act toward me, and I have a choice as to how to respond.

As the concentration camp survivor Victor Frankl wrote in “Man’s Search for Meaning” said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

With that realization, I made a decision to wage war against my tendency to give up my personal responsibility to please others more than be true to myself. I also know that to enjoy something is temporal.

Whereas joy can be a permanent state of being…if we do the work of sifting for and letting go of all the false beliefs that life, parents, peers, school, careers, and our own lust for things that have come to seem “normal” to us.

As my deep-thinking friend reminded me, “Even though the apostle Paul said that he had learned to be content in whatever state—rich, poor, beaten, flogged, shipwrecked, and imprisoned—he found himself in, he still found his true joy. His joy was embedded in his foundational connection with God. Still, I’m quite sure that he did not feel happy or enjoy those unthinkable times.”

I wrote not too long ago about the fact that we really have no ultimate control over our circumstances. Today, as I root for true joy, I am finding—slowly by slowly—that my only real power is to remember my joy, my dignity, and my well-being comes only from one Source, and it is not in what others think of me or how they treat me. It is only in looking to God. As I rest in that One joy, my enjoyment of the things I love is returning a little more each day.

May you find true joy, and please let me know if I can help.

Love, your sister along the journey, +k

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