Transforming Fear to Joy

The foolish seek happiness in the distance; the wise grow it under their feet.     James Oppenheimn

I just returned home from presenting at the annual Manitoba Childcare Association Conference, titled Wisdom Begins with Wonder.  Regardless of career choice — childcare worker, teacher, computer programmer, tradesperson, doctor, lawyer, etc. — at some point in our working life, WE have to ask ourselves “Am I enjoying my life?”  I asked myself this question when I was 38 years old and was surprised when a wee, small voice inside me literally yelled, “NO!”  Essentially, I stopped everything I was doing and began a 10-year odyssey to rediscover joy.

One mantra/affirmation I left with the conference audience, Joy is my only job, was paramount in my own reclaiming of wonder and joy.  Jason Silva maintains overstimulation in our daily lives has rendered invisible our awareness of and disengagement in the here and now.  Instead of living in the present moment, we expend our attention either regretting the past or worrying about the future.  Our fear instead of our joy becomes our focus.  Mystery and awe become lost potential rather than a life well lived.

As children, we were in love with mystery, which is exactly what life presents to us each and every day.  We leapt out of bed knowing something new and wonderful would happen.  In our daily rush as adults, we strive and drive to learn everything we require to remove the mystery or uncertainty from life.  Is it no wonder many no longer know what elicits their wonder and joy.  Many people have so lost touch with their joy that they believe it comes from outside themselves.  They seek to find it in people, events or things when it can only be located within.

The way and the truth is within.  It has always been so and will
always be so.     
Ron Rathbun

Reclaiming our relationship with the mystery of life, being present to each arising moment, returns us to that child-like state of accepting whatever shows up without demanding something else.   Every day is a new adventure to witness and experience.  Every present moment experience is an inspiration — an idea that stimulates our creativity.  And inspiration is found everywhere — in people, events and things — but only in the present.   To be inspired is to be filled with the urge or ability to create.  As humans, when we are inspired and creating, we are alive with joy.  We are releasing our joy, from the inside out.

As I told my conference audience, our sole purpose on Earth is to awaken to what we want to create in this world.  When we dig deep enough within ourselves and discover this true passion, we rekindle our joy, our spirit.  I often remind myself that inspiration is in-spirit’s-action.  When we act from our spirit, we act from our joy.

I began the conference presentation with Joy is my only job, and ended with Joy is an inside job.  Spirit or joy is found in the very core of our being, and it requires deep investigation to penetrate the multiple layers and facets into who we truly are.  Life is our arena within which we navigate this self-discovery process and within which we jumpstart our joy.  In recognition that wisdom truly does begin with wonder and adventure, I wrote the following poem.

Aimful Wandering

No river runs straight.
It is not Nature’s way to rush past the thirsty
only to return to the sea.

A meandering river allows the more scenic route.
Each moment along the way, a glimpse
of Uncertainty navigating twists and turns.

No life runs straight.
Rock, earth, life’s obstacles
alter the current of one’s desires.

Each moment, a glimpse
adding to a lifetime of choices leading here and there
connecting people, places, possibilities.

No wandering is aimless.
It is not Life’s way to unfold
without purpose and order.

Each conscious moment, another glimpse
revealing the wonder
and the way.

16 October 2003

What person inspires you?  What piece of art inspires you?  What event inspires you?  Once you have answered these questions, ask yourself, “Why does this person, art, event inspire me?”  Dig deeper to penetrate into your spirit of joy.  Keep asking “Why?” until you discover your answer.  Now, ask yourself, “Am I living this inspiration every day?”

For more inspiration, wonder and joy tools, click here.

Picture of Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.


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