Allowing Joy To Find Me

2020 Apache Plume

May 1, 2020
Nogal House
Indian Divide, New Mexico

Allowing Joy to Find Me

Today I will allow joy to find me
And allow myself the state of grace
That the universe will always offer.
I will take pause for a moment
And breathe deeply of the day
Feast my eyes on the beauty
Of sun, sky, earth and light
And think of nothing else.
I have searched all my life
For that joyful place in spirit
The peaceful respite from work and worry
Often enough I been surrounded by that
But mourned when it was absent.
It has taken me years to realize
That the joyfulness was a constant
And that it was me who interrupted it.
Today I will allow joy to find me.

These last few weeks have been a learning curve for all of us. The forced confinement and solitude presented challenges for us which I never would have anticipated. I have lived alone for the past four years and for much of the time preceding that. I am accustomed to solitude and enjoy the lack of distractions. Still yet, I had a routine which kept me from being too alone and I ventured out at will. Having to stay at home and distance myself from those people I choose to share my time with created a void that was hard to fill. In addition, the inability to move forward and pursue my plans added a sense of inertia I am just as unaccustomed to. I am a goal driven person and I operate best under pressure, even if that is as simple as just paying my bills each month. I am always working at and towards something and the reward of the returns from that effort affirm my actions. When the entire process came to a screaming halt I had to devise other ways to maintain my momentum.

Those first few days were filled with a flurry of effort. I did all the things I felt I needed to do to prepare for the duration of this pandemic while not knowing just how long that would be. I shopped and stored food, planted an early garden, stripped and rearranged my living room and built an art table by the window. Then I stopped and couldn’t get going again. My creativity and motivation left the room and for a long moment I struggled. If I rarely get depressed I suddenly had to deal with that also and there was little opportunity to escape myself. I started cutting wood instead, which helped as it got me outside, kept me active and brought a return I could put my hands on. I gradually adjusted and have spent a good part of my time since being creative and active. I have adjusted my diet and exercise routine and devotedly bettered myself. Physically I am as healthy as I have been in the last few years and I intend to stay that way.

Having achieved some basic goals I have now turned my attention to my spiritual needs. I am usually a pretty happy person even if I whine on occasion. Having had to reassess my approach to life within the confines of my solitude I have now had to develop a new approach to things. Where before I could jump in my truck and go socialize or take a road trip I have had to bring the happiness to me instead. Where it is easy to adjust ones diet, especially without the temptation of convenience stores or restaurants to contend with, addressing my spiritual needs is more of a challenge. I can pray daily and often, which I do, and remain grateful for everything, but I need something more. I can walk the hills as I have and find much solace, and reflect on my journal entries from better times and find the direction I require, but joyfulness is evasive. It has been my morning and evening prayers which brought me back to center and offered the key to that joyfulness I seek.

Years ago I returned to a peaceful place deep in the Alamosa Canyon in the Monticello Box. The entire stretch of that creek bottom is spectacular but there is one place in particular that always thrilled me. It is a narrow stretch of the creek where the road is in the water and the rock walls of the canyon are narrow and close. I have parked there many times just to take pause and immerse myself in the beauty. It was in one such moment, surrounded by the utter stillness of the place that I realized that that spot had remained untouched and unchanged, aside from drought and flood, for all the time it had existed. It will always be that way as there is nothing anyone can do to change that and the ensuing floods would restore it to its present state in one fell sweep. Beauty and joy are much like that place. They remain a constant, always. The mountains that surround my perch will always be here. The sun and the sky, the contour of the earth, the birdsong outside my door will always exist here. If I am joyless it is because I am not allowing those things to get through to me. I have to allow that joy to find me because I cannot find it otherwise. It is my responsibility to remove all of the distractions from my mind and spirit so that the joy can fill that space. If I do not it cannot find me.

There has been the threat of sickness, death and suffering surrounding us for months now. The news is inundated with every possible scenario of these things and it is almost inescapable. I followed it closely for weeks and allowed it to dominate my life. What about New York where my sister lives? What about Japan where my oldest son and his family live? What if I get sick, and will I survive? Am I sick? I drove to California the end of February and flew back from there on March 3. Those next two weeks were worrisome and even after that it seemed that every time I went somewhere those two weeks started all over again. Now I barely read the news or check statistics. I wear a mask in public places and sanitize my hands continuously. I am still very concerned but far less fearful than I was. All of this has become a familiar routine and my garden is up as well. I feel like I have been through the worst of it and am prepared for the future, as uncertain as that may be.

I am allowing joyfulness to find me. I have stripped off the layers of worry and distraction and rediscovered my basic necessities. I have learned to fill my time from day to day and how to fill the voids in my solitude. I make phone calls to friends and make it a point to get to town a little more often so I can socialize a bit. The fearfulness has eased as we have been so blessed so far not to have a lot of sickness here. By nature there is a lot of space between us and people have been mindful also. Nobody wants to get sick and we have made the adjustments we had to avoid that. I am reminded of that blessing each and every day. I have always been glad I left New York but I am now certain that it was a good choice! I would take utter solitude over crowded streets at any time, but especially now.

Dawn came quietly this morning with a bank of clouds to the east shielding the horizon. I watched as the sun broke over the haze of moisture and then dissipated it into the air. I listened closely to the various birds songs and watched as the ravens traveled west on their morning flight. I built a small morning fire to heat my water and went out to water the garden. The fresh young sprouts promise many good meals and the sustenance I require. They also bring joy to me. Their bright green leaves, as with the glowing white blossoms of the iris and apache plume fill my heart with happiness. The water sparkles in in the morning sun as I moisten the soil on each plant. These are all simple things but they remain a constant no matter what is going on in the rest of the world. I have been confined here long enough to realize how important their presence is and that there isn’t, and never has been much more that I require. When one removes all of the distractions and interference all that remains is that joyfulness we thought that we were looking for! It has found me once again.

4 responses to “Allowing Joy To Find Me”

  1. Donna Catterick says :

    So much is dependent on what we allow and encourage to come into our lives. Nice post.

    • cathieeisen says :

      Donna,

      So true and sometimes it is so easy to forget that. I so appreciate your comments and it is good to hear from you. I hope that you are doing well and that all is good in T or C. I miss going there and hope to get back that way once things free up a bit. I will be sure to let you know when I am heading that way and will hope to join you for a cup of coffee. I love your posts also and try to reply but have challenges doing so off of my phone!

      Stay well! Cathie

  2. agapejacqui says :

    Thank you my dear friend, This message is just what I needed to read today! There have been so many times during my periods of spiritual introspection where I discovered and rediscovered, that when I keep things simple, life flows without so much effort. I have come to believe that when I focus more on what I have and am grateful for; rather than what appears to be what I cannot do or what I think I do not have… I am feeling more in the flow of life and Joy. During this time in history where I am traversing trails that have never been experienced previously, I have found that internal struggle of resisting that which has not previously been within the realm of “the norm”. It can feel rather uncomfortable, and I am slowly realizing that this is a good thing! I’m realizing that I can be grateful for that feeling of uncomfortableness, as I believe that when I’m feeling this way… it means that I am growing and transforming. In other words, if I’m always feeling comfortable, I’m probably not really doing the things I came here on Earth to do…growth and transformation are not always comfortable in the moment, but we’ll worth the effort…yes?! 😉

    • cathieeisen says :

      Jacqui,
      You are so on target. This has been an incredible time of growth for all of us, if we have been willing to interpret it as such! I have been amazed at the degree of struggle I have faced from a very low key perspective compared to so many other people. My sister is in New York and I have a friend in Farmington where things are so bad who has immunity concerns. I am blessed to be here and even compared to you have so little to be worried about, but I have anyway. I wrote again today and will post it also as this is an ongoing growth process to say the least. It is so important to go with that feeling of discomfort and to see it through to its source rather than trying to avert it. I am the queen of averting things. I sink into my pitty party and then whenever possible flee to brighter shores but not being able to ‘go’ anywhere has forced me to confront the reasons for my misery. I believe I may have finally figured that out, at least for the moment. Thank you for your insight as well for I know that you and I are so alike in this and you have devoted so much energy into learning your wat through. Your shared wisdom is much appreciated .

      Much love to you Jacqui and one of these days when this is behind us we must spend some more time together. Have a lovely day!
      Cathie

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