A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
2016 has stretched me in ways I never imagined possible. We have seen the remnants of the gentleness of life through tremendous loss and heartbreak and we have seen the joys of smiles from tremendous achievement. Through it all, we are blessed to see another day. But that’s just it. In retrospect, I can honestly say that for the first time in my life, I’ve finally figured it out. This very moment, I’m doing my life, my way, for me.
I have been fortunate to have spent the last two weeks with family and I shut down my office to do so. I never do that. And, of course, I have been doing some writing but because I wanted to. I even had a few deadlines but ones that I already knew about. I said “no” to adding anything to my agenda that would take away from this time of reflection and joy with my family. It became apparent to me for the first time that this life that we live has absolutely nothing to do with what those around us are doing. It has nothing to do with what goals others are achieving, who’s getting married or divorced, who’s filing for bankruptcy and what someone is driving. This life has everything to do with seeking happiness within so that it can be reproduced and spread around like confetti.
Happiness is what we are truly after and it can not be attained with accomplishments, fame, money or people who, let’s be honest are often fair weather. This happiness that I speak of is best categorized as joy. It is true that the the world didn’t give it to us and the world can’t take it away.
In 2016, with tears in my eyes, I discovered joy. When we stumble upon the reason for our existence, joy is abundant. And get this, it is meant to be stumbled upon. We spend so much time agonizing over not knowing our purpose. All we have to do is simply do the things that we enjoy and watch how those things help others. Our joy lies in our ability to be happy with what we are doing and how we are doing it and who we are doing it with. Period.
For years, I’d asked myself, what I could accomplish that would make me feel like I’d made it? Today, the answer is simply nothing. There is no “it”. For me, I want to experience joy every day and forever.
I am now able to verbalize the things that give me joy and my mind wanders towards new ways to achieve new levels of joy.
For example, I am filled with joy spending time with my family, so I search Groupon for new ways for us to enjoy each other and we okay board games and sit and hug each other for no reason at all. We get pure joy from these moments. There can be no price tag placed upon these times.
I experience joy from watching my publishing clients hold their book for the first time, so I find more ways to reach aspiring authors and I teach my clients to not only write the story but to find joy in doing so. Simple. No bells, no whistles.
Lastly, I have increased my awareness of the spirit of discernment that allows us all to feel. Everybody who pretends to be happy is not and we sometimes take advice from those who are not truly happy. We are all impressionable. The goal is to discover the very thing that will make you happy and what gives you joy and multiply it. No one can do that for us. We must own that responsibility. Joy comes from the soul.
All in all, 2016 has been a year of many lessons for me and you. I want to leave you with my top 7:
1. God never leaves your side.
2. Wander into new territory often.
3. Fear nothing.
4. Work like hell.
5. Silence false doctrines.
6. Remain fixated on the journey.
7. Tell the story.
As I mentioned, joy comes from within. What will you do to find it and keep it in the New Year? Here are my top 3 suggestions:
1. Protect your happiness at all costs.
2. Stop looking around and look within.
3. Serve others.
If you are reading this, I adore you. Thank you for sticking with me all year long and for all of your support. Thank you for writing back to me and all of your mail. Thank you for your prayers and kind words. Thank you for believing in me. You are important to me and a part of my story.
If you remember nothing else from this message, remember to embrace the journey. Every step counts, big and small. A journey worth a thousand words, begins with a single step but count it all joy. See you in 2017! All my love. ❤️
Ardre Orie, Writer|Publisher|Playwright