Monday, October 5, 2015

How to Find Joy During the Storms of Life

"You can dance in a hurricane, but only if you're standing in the eye."-Brandi Carlile

I am a fan of Brandi Carlile for so many reasons, and her new album is one of them. Her lyrics have always been perfectly skillful in explaining the machine of life and all of its many moving parts. One of her new songs has a line in it (quoted up above) that perfectly explains the purpose of learning to have joy. 

I seem to be surrounded by people that are experiencing the hardest days of their lives. Either the world is getting harder, and the universe is handing out more blows, or I've reached the age in life where the endless Indian Summers full of invincible freedom are gone. Whether it's a friend of mine losing her baby, or another friend watching their mother die much like I did last year, or another friend having their intestines give out one day and being on death's door for the better part of a month, or even another friend enduring their last ditch effort at cleaning up from drug addictions. Whatever it is you're dealing with, be it an indifferent marriage, death of a loved one, cancer, addictions, poor health, depression, these are all part of the human experience. 

We were not put here to be sheltered in a plastic bubble protecting us from anything harmful. We were put here to live and experience, dream and feel pain, laugh and cry. We weren't put here for nothing to happen to us. If we're going to live all the good we want to in life, we have to live through all the bad. Plants grow from being rained on, and we thrive from being challenged. Is the pain unbearable sometimes? Yes. Are we sometimes asked to endure a challenge we never expected? Totally. 

So, how do we find joy in the storms? 

We find the small moments within the crazy stuff to pull us through to the good days. We find chili dog moments. We find things that warm our hearts, like a baby giggle, a cuddle from our pets, a warm body to hold us as we cry the tears of pain, an unexpected laugh attack. We look for small moments of relief, of good, of joy. We find the strength within us to keep going, and, through this, we learn to trust ourselves. We learn to believe that we are able to get ourselves through the times when we thought everything was in ruins and that we would never make it. 

We may be surrounded by the storms, the category 4 hurricane force winds raging all around, but we will also have our 'eyes'. You will be given a breather before you must endure again. Life is one big, beautiful, chaotic, disaster that has moments of incredible success, and moments of complete utter failure. 

This is the human experience, but we can have joy despite it all. We can dance in the hurricanes, if we stand in the eye. I don't know about you, but I endured enough grief for my lifetime last year. From now on, when the hurricanes come, I'm going to do my best to throw a dance party in the middle of the eye. Feel free to join me. I'll be there with some of my best "feeling unstoppable" tracks and all the reckless abandon I can muster. See you there? 

How do you get through your hurricanes? What were your storm eye moments? Share with me in the comments below. I'd love to hear how you got through your storms, or what your simple moments of joy were/are. 

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