By Nina Rubin

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Since I started writing regularly, most of my blog posts have skewed toward a pensive, reflective, often sad bent.

However, in the last few months, I’ve said yes more frequently and have made the decision to make more magic in my daily experiences.

A couple of months ago, I participated in an online project to recognize all of the gifts that come my way. This program, “The Receiving Project,” reminded me of so many blessings I experience on a daily basis, from working with amazing clients to being offered special opportunities. It is fitting to attribute some of my recent positivity to this project and also remind myself that I used to wake up happy 9 out of 10 days. In the last year, I did not wake up happy most days, and instead, I woke up with anxiety, sadness or anger.

I missed my old self.

I feel a physiological, mental, emotional and even a spiritual shift knocking on my door. I’m welcoming her with a gracious hug and a big smile. Recently, I’ve had so much fun: I’ve gone to baseball games, spent time at various beaches, watched fireworks from an amazing, secret beach, cooked and baked new dishes, gardened with my favorite chef, laughed with my nearest and dearest, exercised, and most excitingly, I took a wonderful adventure and met some amazing new friends.

My life used to be joyous and nearly care-free, and then it took a nosedive to hell.

I’ve treaded water and felt stuck for a very long period of time because of energy vampires and very difficult situations. I felt small, voiceless, concerned, and generally—untrusting.

Something shifted and now I feel like I’m back! I see my eyes brighter in the mirror and I’m also able to reflect joy. I notice myself smiling and laughing many times throughout the day and feel like I’m returning to the strong, capable, independent woman I always used to be.

Sometimes I even want to shout and squeal that my life is back!

It would be false to advertise that in my brief encounter with my old (happier) self, I’ve only felt joy. No, I’ve felt a wide spectrum of emotions. Somehow, I know better how to handle the challenges quickly and more efficiently. This has helped me immensely, along with the insight of one of my teachers I met about a decade ago.

His name is Michael and he lives in Israel. He discusses feelings of personal slavery and new-found freedom, as if trudging through a desert after being imprisoned for many years.

“We began to form our communal consciousness in that physical and existential ‘lack.’ We learned to appreciate the ability to trust the unknown and unpredictable, to love the temporary, to experience the ‘here and now.’ All of this experience had one main purpose—to teach us to let go of the illusion of control.”

He suggests that the times we are walking consistently through the smoldering desert with seemingly no end in sight, questioning and banging our heads for the best answers, represent the self-searching that people are encouraged to experience. This is crucial so we can “learn to listen to the soft and powerful tune of our souls. Yes, it does help to put all those daily distractions aside. It may involve a certain level of detachment from the physical and the convenient.”

So how does this relate to my extreme joy? Michael, like when Tom Petty sings in Something Good Coming, suggests that in order to feel delight and joy, we have to experience pain and suffering. This extreme yin-yang of life is natural, though extremely frustrating when not going the “right” way.

And I’m in for the long run,
Wherever it goes.
Ridin’ the river,
Wherever it goes.

And I know that look that’s on your face,
There’s something lucky about this place.
There’s something good coming,
For you and me.
Something good coming,
There has to be.

–Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Something Good Coming

I feel a sense of peace and faith that things are coming down the pike favorably, in the way that I’ve set myself up for success with seeds having been planted a very long time ago. I think joy and laughter stem from feeling relaxed and relinquishing a false sense of control.

Instead, joy is felt momentarily by truly recognizing “how good things really are” like Marianne Williams says.

I’d like to add one more thought before finishing, which I’ll likely write more about in future blogs:

For me, the joy I’ve been experiencing is a result of deciding to make it so.

Before doing some of the marvelous adventures recently, I’ve told myself a little mantra. I’ve set the intention to make the experience magical and fun and to allow myself to really feel the happiness that’s happening. To end on a short, sweet, high note, I want to acknowledge that I’m back!

Not only is something good coming, it’s here! I’m experiencing extreme joy and I feel great! What a lovely feeling this is, and I’m delighted to share it with you!




Photo: Moya Brenn/Flickr

Editor: Daniel Scharpenburg