Monday, July 9, 2012

Letting Joy Rule

I have a dog, Watson, who believes his soul purpose in life is to keep our yard clear of chipmunks. When I take him out on his leash, he leads me on a specific route, around the foundation at the back of the house, over to the woodpile behind the garage, up the property line along the lilac bushes to the back woodpile. Chipmunks squeak their warnings from the safety of the stacked logs, egging Watson on. Only after every nook and cranny has been sufficiently sniffed will Watson take care of our purpose for going out. 
Sometimes on these walks, I look ahead and see chippers frolicking about the yard.  Watson doesn’t see them, he’s focused on the woodpile, shoving his face in every hole, barking at the perceived chipmunk’s hunkered down inside. 
Today, while sitting on the deck, I watched Watson, on point, head through the guardrail, scrutinizing a chipper pathway below. He quivered with excitement, sure a chipmunk would show up any moment. Gated on the deck, there was no way he’d be able to chase one if it did show up. Out in the yard two chipmunks scurried from trees to flowerbeds and back. Watson didn’t see them. (I have to admit, I didn’t point them out to him. His bark is deafening.) 
Watching him, I realized that I had also been focusing on a problem that I could do nothing about. How blind have I been to all the wonderful blessings around me? It’s so easy to focus on what isn’t right and forget about all that is right in our lives. Gratitude. I’d like to pay more attention to all the things that I am grateful for. Why give my focus to something I can’t do anything about? Why allow sadness to have more weight in my life than joy? If I can let sadness rule, why can’t I let joy rule? 
John Locke, an English philosopher said “What worries you, masters you.” I prefer to let joy master me.


  1. Dear Joanna,
    How I wish I had known about you earlier! I absolutely cried when I read your experience because it so closely mirrored my own.

    I left my abusive marriage after 17 years and have been in a healing process, but there are still many difficulties in terms of dealing with the fall out.

    I am going to start work with a shelter in my area as part of my healing but also because I am ready to let my experience be used for good.

    I really can't say enough about how grateful I am that you are doing what you are doing. Thank you so very much!


  2. Thanks, Emmie. Glad to have you here.

    Yes, healing is an ongoing journey and worth it. I'm glad you will be working with a shelter. I learned so much with I started volunteering - a double blessing.


  3. Terrific post, Joanna -- I AGREEEEEEE! My whole healing path out of PTSD came from one decision: I wanted to feel joy. I knew when I dance I feel joyful, transcendent and free. So, I signed up for dance classes every single day of the week. The more I accessed that part of myself the more courageous I became in doing my recovery work. It was an amazing process that led me to an amazing transformation. After 25+ years of PTSD I am now 100% PTSD-free. Long live the power of joy to lead us where our lives are supposed to go.

    ps. My Wheaten Terrier, Baylee, is very much like Watson only his prey of choice is squirrels. I can't tell you how many trees I've nearly run up as I hold onto the leash and follow him!

  4. Love that you find joy in dancing, Michele. Glad that you are now PTSD free.
    Happy new year to you and Baylee. (For some reason my earlier response to you didn't get published. Sorry this is a late response.)