I hope this little message finds you well and filled with wonder on this beautiful summer day.
I went out to dinner with five of my closest girlfriends Friday night for a 40th birthday celebration (see photo)! The conversation was woven over delicious food and story after story was shared about how our lives are unfolding. Struggles with three-nagers were comforted by living reminders of how things will get better, heartbreak over the realities of accompanying aging parents was heard with tenderness, doubt surrounding the recent addition of a puppy to a busy family of four was held with great empathy, fears about the physical signs of age were echoed, transitions in life and challenges in relationships resonated with all of us in our own unique ways, and threaded between and through all of this was laughter, so much laughter, it left my cheeks aching (I know you know the feeling).
I often found myself looking around the table into the eyes and the lives of these magnificent women who I have known since I was thirteen. With every glance and every memory, I was reminded of the miracle of friendship manifested in these five, and the handful of others, who I know and love AND who know and love me.
My heart still feels like it is about to burst.
Total unabashed joy was the gift that was given and received on Friday and is the gift that can be given and received every day if we seek it out, if we create it, if we recognize the many disguises/manifestations of joy. When we do this, we actively discover the joy in everyday experiences and the potent opportunity in everyday encounters.
Joy is the feeling of being free, being true, being alive. Joy is finding reason to delight even in moments of darkness, struggle, challenge, and discourage. Joy is an attitude that awakens us to the possibility of staying in our center, rooting ourselves in our heart (the source of all joy), and living life from that infinite place.
What is joy to you?
What brings you joy?
Unabashed. Big. Joy.
Where do you find it?
How can you create it?
What does it look like?
What does it feel like?
I hope you gift yourself with a little time to explore these questions this week. Together, let’s go looking for joy and discover what we seek, we will inevitably find!
ps – if you are looking to gift yourself with a whole weekend of what promises to be the embodiment of joy, today is the last day to sign up for the Women’s Retreat of Restoration with the early bird registration discount! Follow this link to sign up: https://www.dawndones.com/retreats