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November, December / 2017

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Ode to Joy


When the World Seems Heavy

As I returned to Mexico in October, I knew I would frequently be asked, “How was your summer?”  Normally, my answer comes easily.  I talk about happy summer travels, and great times with family and friends in Canada.

This summer all those things were true; I did have many wonderful experiences, including a fabulous September retreat.  And yet, in October I sensed a feeling of heaviness.  My world was not joyful.

The tragic events of the year weighed on me.  I did not know anyone directly affected by earthquakes, floods, fires or other disasters, but I was aware of the grief and despair felt by many.

In addition, three of my Vancouver friends had cancer.  I spent time with one in chemotherapy.  Another had serious surgery and we don’t know the prognosis right now.  I said good-bye to the third in September, knowing I would not see him again when I return in April.

It was no wonder that when I had elective eye surgery done in September, the convalescence lasted weeks instead of days.  I could not see my way!

Those of you who have read my book, Why I Cancelled My Health Insurance, know that many years ago I was susceptible to depression. I was never going to allow that to happen again!

When something tragic happens, we do what we can to help.  We also support individuals with healing thoughts and prayer.  But we need to reverse those feelings of sadness within us too.  They’re authentic but they don’t need to be permanent.

Seek the Path to Joy Through Gratitude

Ongoing sadness results in depression and can also cause serious diseases like diabetes, as well as lymph and thyroid disorders.  Our bodies need joy!  How do we find it?

I have realized that joy is available to us in almost every moment if we are open to it.  Nature continually presents us with beauty that can bring a smile, a sense of calm:  the loveliness of a flower, a multi-hued sunset or sunrise, the changing colours of leaves, ripples on the water.  Watching happy people can also lift us up:  go to a playground and look at the little ones sliding and swinging and laughing.  Love is joy too:  ask for a hug when you need one and allow yourself to sink into the emotion.

Another thing that brings joy is simple gratitude.  If you begin and end your day with expressions of gratitude, you will feel happier.  Allow yourself to go beyond the basics of health, family and home too.  Look around you. You are richly blessed!  Acknowledge this.

I wrote these words a few years ago:

We triumph over adversity when we learn to experience joy regardless of what the adversity seems to be.  This is achieved by continually being grateful for all that is good in our lives, to the point where we forget the rest.

This message is helpful to me now.  Already my eye has healed.  I feel better, happier.

Never let sadness take over.  There is much more good in our world than bad.  There are many opportunities to experience joy every day. Let’s remember that and walk the path of joy!

By Agneta Dyck, author of Why I Cancelled My Health Insurance. All rights reserved.