Hope and Joy Wellness Blog
Hope and Joy Wellness Blog
Sharing musings, thoughts, anecdotes and life-changing resources that enhance self care efforts, and inspire our health and wellness focus.
Hope and Joy Wellness Coach
8:07 PM

JOY...Is it a Destination? - Hope and Joy Wellness Trilogy Blog #3

JOY...Is it a Destination? 
Hope and Joy Trilogy Blog #3
by Nate Higgins, Hope and Joy Wellness Coach

You encountered, engaged and slayed your metaphorical "mental monsters" in that space we explored lying between your hope and joy in the previous blog; That Space Between Your Hope and Joy Hope and Joy Trilogy Blog #2. You may recall me describing this space for me as a tunnel, whereby with clearly defined hopes, goals and dreams, as well as enough ambition, I enter a dark place of the unknown.

I proceed knowing that what is waiting for me on the other end of this tunnel is worth any sacrifice, pain, frustration or challenge that may present itself to me. Again...this is upon entering this dark and scary place undoubtedly filled with fear and resistance for me. That's about the only "for sure" thing waiting for me in that tunnel, that space.  

Now...I know all this going in, because I have been here before. I have gotten lost, been detoured and stalled. And yes I have turned back many times as well. However...I have completed this journey. I've been filled with joy. I know it's worth it. It keeps bringing me back even though it's a tough traverse. 

So when we see this light at the end of the tunnel of our journey and we run out as fast as we can with open arms ready to embrace that joy that awaits us! It's the moment that has inspired us through the tough times and kept us taking one challenging step after another.

man rainbow in falls

We arrive into this light but that joy doesn't appear in front of us like we so eagerly anticipated??? WTH?!?!

Don't get dejected.

Your journey is not yet complete! 

But it's the easiest, shortest and most rewarding part of your journey.



Turn around.

There it is!

You made it! 

The JOY is in the journey of course.

In my opinion, and I am not original with this position, but without the journey there is no joy. In other words, without the pain, suffering, challenges, sacrifice, fear and constant resistance and seeing it through or overcoming it, how can we possibly know joy?

Those things are what makes joy, well...JOY.

Think of anything that has brought you great joy. I'm serious, pause... take 30-60 seconds to think of those moments of joy in your life. I'm not referring to the joy of seeing U2 live playing "Beautiful Day," winning a couple thousand dollars at a slot machine or witnessing the Vikings winning the Super Bowl. (Oops, we are not talking about dreams here, sorry)

I am referring to the kind of joy that required a great deal of sacrifice, challenge, heartache, perseverance, etc. What transpired, occurred or presented itself to you leading up to that joy? I ask this question and am flooded with strong emotions of my own experiences and of course the moments of joy, yes, but...I recall so much more of what led to that moment of joy. 

It was my belief for a long time that joy was a destination or something you needed to pursue and hopefully capture if you were lucky or fortunate. But as I believe and state often to myself and others, hope is not a strategy. It's a great feeling, and very much needed in our lives, but alone it does not deliver us to the joy we desire in our lives.

For me, joy...well wholesome and sustainable joy, was allusive in my life for so long. I could not get beyond joy being a "what if" in my life. Like, I will only have joy "if" certain things went my way or happened to work out in my favor, as if I had no choice in the matter. Going through life with your fingers crossed, making excuses or escaping into things that do not serve you, while running from the challenges, fear and resistance is no way to go through your life.

It wasn't until recent years I found the joy in "what is" in my life.

Being grateful for what I have, what I have found inside myself or persevered through and what I envision for my future and that of my family is where I find that sustainable joy in my life...thankfully. 

Knowing where that joy comes from, where I can find it and how I can bring more of it into my life is a tremendous gift that I have given to myself.

Of course it's not as easy as just "knowing" this, but it does provide me with sort of a "treasure map" and enough guidance to step into that dark tunnel, or that space between hope and joy. I know that everything is going to be OK...no, that it's going to be a joyous occasion and one that I cannot wait to pursue again! 

I hope you; decide to plan something "BIG," not settle for just surviving day to day and/or make the decision to bring more joy into your life. 

Hope, Joy and Wellness to you and MAKE it a great day!

Previous Blog: That Space Between Your Hope and Joy Hope and Joy Trilogy Blog #2

Next Blog: Do Something Big!

Hope and Joy Wellness Coach
5:59 AM

That Space Between Hope and Joy-Hope and Joy Trilogy Blog #2

That Space Between Your Hope and Joy
Hope and Joy Trilogy Blog #2

by Nate Higgins, Hope and Joy Wellness

So we have identified our hopes, goals, and dreams and are inspired in the moment to make them happen. Now what? Well that of course depends on what you are setting out to accomplish for yourself. Whatever that is, likely you know what you have to do, what actions are needed and the detailed physical checklists or "to-do's" that will be part of your plan. It seems pretty clear what is required by you, to make "this" happen for you. So...why does success quickly seem so far away, so elusive or so unrealistic?

Yep, you guessed, MONSTERS!

Monsters and powerful forces are working against you. In my experience of having hope for something better or a goal I want to accomplish, I envision a tunnel. The entry point to this tunnel is the "Hope," inspiration and motivation. It's where the idea of how great it "could be" once arriving at the other end of the tunnel. That other end of course is the "Joy" you will realize or bring into your life. But the space between Hope and Joy can be very long, very challenging and very scary! Here is what mine looks like.

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What lies ahead in that tunnel once you decide to journey into it is different for everyone. We all have our "MENTAL MONSTERS" that keep us from expediting our goals more easily than we would like. But slaying these "mental monsters," facing obstacles and challenging yourself is what makes the journey so rewarding and special. You celebrate in the joy that you were confident was there waiting for you on the other side.

For the longest time I could not understand why setting a goal, making a plan and then having it come to you didn't simply work out just like that, if you were willing to sacrifice and work hard??? It was very frustrating and only made all those "mental monsters" larger, even though I never saw them or knew they were what was fighting me and keeping me from my goals. Self-reflection and desire to do more than just survive in this life led me to begin inner-work on myself.  I was fortunate to come across self-help individuals who's words resonated with me. They led me to other similar voices in this area, and those to others, etc.  These folks taught me that it is critically vital to recognize the forces and feelings that stand in the way of your dreams. These forces are there whether you recognize or acknowledge them anyway, so why not give yourself a chance of dealing with them.  

I liken to my basketball coaching days. Regardless of who the opponent was we scouted them pretty thoroughly. Strong team or weak team, we tried to understand what they were all about, and then game planned to give ourselves the best chance of winning. Once you identify and label what might stand in your way or hold you back, you can game plan to overcome these opponents, or put up your best fight in defeat, make you stronger and come back another day to fight again.

(I label my biggest "mental monsters" as FEAR and RESISTANCE. Those other words in my tunnel could fall under the umbrella of either of these words and day to day for me, it's easier to battle one or two words knowing they might be disguised as other words as well.) 

A resource that discusses these "forces" I have mentioned is a great book by Steven Pressfield called, The Art of War. In this book Pressfield addresses "resistance" and how it is the main force that keeps us from reaching our goals. This easy, straight-forward and short read was very helpful to me in identifying those things that hold me back. 

If you have read any books or have a great resource in this area, please share in the comments section below. 

I won't pretend to have the answers to overcoming fear, doubt, uncertainty or the gamut of what you might encounter once you have set out on this hope to joy journey but there are a few things I would recommend that have genuinely helped me on a few journeys. 

So here are...
3 easy action steps to consider before your Hope to Joy Journey begins:

1. Identify and write down your "mental monsters"-your doubts, fears, resistance and uncertainty. Don't allow these feelings to hi-jack your mind, get them out. Then... write down some "right now" action steps that you can immediately go to when you realize you are engaged with one of your "mental monsters."  (I go for a run, journal for a few minutes, play my drums aggressively, prepare food with calming music or none at all or cue up one of my "mentor" podcasts. I am never NOT in a better frame of mind to move forward)

2. Embrace Vulnerability-share with someone you trust and who will support you. It's an opportunity to strengthen trust and deepen a connection in a relationship or create a new one. This vulnerability is a strength, NOT a weakness! 

3. Discover or create inspirational words and messages that speak to you and give you strength. Keep these close and view them often. The power of words never ceases to amaze me. I find my words and messages from Facebook following, recommended podcasts and book recommendations. However, some of the best words are looking back into my journal and reading what I've written during similar moments in the past or relive the strong moments and statements I have recorded. I also created a Vision Board, and add or edit it often. Affirmations are powerful as well and everyone should have a couple of these at all times. 

These are effective for me. They are not original. I have tried others and they just didn't seem to work for me. Find what works for you and stick with them.

I have completed this journey a number of times and know the feeling of joy after encountering mental and physical challenges and persevering all the way through "the space between."  I'm navigating this tunnel as I type this and can't be sure that I will make it through this time for certain hopes that I have, but the alternative of not at least embarking on another journey and attempting to realize hopes of mine is not something I will ever live with again. I have bigger dreams, stronger hopes and more worthy goals. Each trip into this tunnel is making me a stronger and better person. It's worth the risk, but you already know that it will be.

Take those hopes, those dreams and goals and venture into that tunnel!

Hope, Joy and Wellness to you! MAKE it a great week!

Previous Blog: HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY-Trilogy blog #1

Next Blog: That Space Between Your Hope and Joy Hope and Joy Trilogy Blog #2

Hope and Joy Wellness Coach
5:59 AM

HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY-Hope and Joy Trilogy Blog #1

Posted: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 Previous Post: Hope and Joy Wellness Blog Next Post: What Lies Between Your Hope and Joy - Hope and Joy Trilogy Blog #2 Read More

Hope and Joy Wellness Coach
5:45 AM

Hope and Joy Wellness Blog by Nate Higgins

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