In a moment of quiet reflection, I was told to the enjoy journey.
My response? “You have GOT to be kidding me!”
This message came during an extremely hard season. Life was life’ing and I was exhausted.
How was I supposed to find pleasure when some mornings I struggled to find my toothbrush and was living on antacids?
If my vision for peace and joy couldn’t be fully realized (a month on a private island), I decided I would carve out tiny moments of joy and practice gratitude. Through high levels of stress and physical pain, I was committed to what I heard.
And let’s be clear. I didn’t do this every day. I was by no means perfect in my attempt but I never gave up.
What enjoying the journey looks like in times of chaos
Physical activity and laughter
Some days it was a short walk—that’s all my body could support. Other days it was sitting on the patio and watching the clouds float through the sky. Just like when I was a little girl.
Moments of joy included quick conversations with friends that had nothing to do with the current melee and ended with giddiness and laughter.
I discovered the music of Elvis Crespo. His song Suavemente always put me in a great mood and it was four minutes and 29 seconds of pure joy. Plus the bass line is funky and totally slaps! Thanks, Elvis.
Sleeping and napping
So many good things happen to our minds and bodies when we fall into deep, glorious, magical slumber. And it’s been proven that you make better decisions when you’ve rested. It’s easier to shift and pivot when your body has refueled.
However, stress will deprive you of this nightly elixir and I saw lots of sleepless nights. Until one night I had a very stern yet loving conversation with myself.
LISTEN! Mind. Body. WE are going to sleep. WE are going to rest tonight. Here’s the bed. Here are all the pillows. WE are going to sleep!
And this worked a lot of nights. That doesn’t mean my brain didn’t try to derail the process.
Me: Aht, aht, aht! I said we’re going to sleep!
The next thing I knew, it was morning.
After a good night’s sleep, I was better prepared to carve out moments of joy.
Nothing shifts you like practicing gratitude. It forces you to look at what you have versus what you don’t. Media mogul, Oprah Winfrey, speaks often about keeping a gratitude journal. She suggests writing down five things every day that you’re grateful for.
During a rough patch, she said she wrote down the same thing five times. Chile, I could totally relate! I connected with that sentiment deeply!
What it all means
Now on the other side of the chaos, I realize that gratitude keeps you present. And enjoying the journey is about living life. All of it. Carving out moments of joy during chaotic times reminds you that you’re alive and in that moment you’re okay. Taking a joy break is a reminder that no season lasts forever. One of my favorite poets said it this way:
“Say to them, say to the down-keepers, the sun-slappers, the self-soilers, the HARMONY HUSHERS, “Even if you are not ready for day, it cannot always be night.” “Gwendolyn Brooks
“It cannot always be night.”
To not enjoy the journey is to wake up one day and realize that you wasted precious time. If you’re always waiting for the right time or perfect moment—you’ll be waiting into eternity.
Having the audacity to experience joy—even just a little bit—is an act of defiance and that truly speaks to the rebel in me. It’s a reminder to yourself and everything around you that the current craziness, hurt, and pain is temporary.
Beloved, “it cannot always be night,” so enjoy the journey.