Don't Postpone Joy

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Do you ever ask for a sign, but don't really expect to find one? 

I know I do! All the time, even though you'd think I would have known better by now! But somehow, in this fast-paced, digital, give-it-to-me-now world that we live in, we've convinced ourselves that signs and miracles are a thing of the past. 

Not true, my sweet friends. We've just allowed our hearts to get so cluttered by the distractions - cell phones, Netflix binges, full schedules - that we're no longer in tune with the energy of the world around us, much less the energy within us. 

Your power of intuition and manifestation is far stronger than you could ever imagine. Keep tracking with me; I promise this isn't a bunch of "hippie-dippie yaya stuff" to put in a box with chakra alignment, crystal healing, and transcendental meditation (all of which can be powerful tools, if you choose to allow them to be). 

But really, we do have the ability to tune into our own hearts and minds, and to the energy (or the soul) that lives inside of us and fuels our life. For me, this has been through meditation; by clearing my mind of its clutter, I'm better able to drop the pin, be present, and listen to my heart, and what it's been trying to tell me all along. 

Sometimes, though, the signs come even when I don't ask, and generally when I really don't want them.

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This was especially true last winter. I've written about how I struggled through a lingering cold, freezing temperatures, and seasonal affectedness disorder (SAD), and how I was able to recover by implementing a few tricks from Ayurvedic medicine. However, I was also incredibly disconnected from myself; I drove to New York twice (outrunning a snowstorm once), only to get iced out of my house (once for a week, and again for ten days), then drove all the way to south Georgia week after week to visit my grandmother, who passed away in January.

I was stressed, sick, and coping with the loss of a loved one for the first time in my adult life, and it truly took a toll on me. I even stopped doing yoga and meditating for a while, because I felt like everything had let me down. Luckily, my family and my boyfriend were there to love me and remind me that there's still good in the world, and things do get better! 

But while I was driving back from south Georgia one day in early January, I ended up behind a car with a bumper sticker that I actually noticed. It read, "Don't Postpone Joy." Three words. No website, nothing else to go on. Just those three words. I felt them resonate in my heart, and the tiniest bit of warmth start spreading. 

And then I saw it again, a few weeks after my grandmother passed away. The same sticker, the same three words. No website. And again, the next week, when I went to Asheville with Nick for our anniversary and my birthday. Three times, three words. Each time, they resonated more with my heart, and I finally said to myself, "Maybe that's what I'm missing." 

Uh, yeah. You think? 

I've been real with you guys in saying that I'm a recovering workaholic. I was Type A, a perfectionist, addicted to people pleasing. When I get stressed, anxious, or, in this case, find myself dealing with SAD, I just bury myself in work. This time was no exception. Not to mention 2017 was an insane year: my band was playing 3-4 shows per week around the southeast, I was desperately clinging onto the steps I'd taken in recovery, I was living between two cities and out of a suitcase and on the road, and I was exhausted. I was postponing joy big time, and it caught up to me. 

So I started meditating again, just a few minutes a day, with one mantra, "Don't postpone joy." Then it became more than a mantra; I took stock of my life and the way I was living, what I was making a priority and what I needed to make a priority, and I pivoted. 

This is another post in itself, because, the truth is, any time you make a change in your life, it's going to affect the people around you, and - sometimes - they're not going to like it. They're going to want things to go "back to normal." But when your heart speaks (or, in my case, was spoken to, very clearly), you have two options: you can keep doing things the way you've been doing them and know that you're missing out on your best life, or you can tune in, tune out the negativity, and move forward. 

For me, that meant learning to say no. I took on too many projects and overwhelmed myself, and then got so stressed out trying to keep up with them + the every day, routine things, that I lost all joy in doing anything. It meant making a morning and nighttime routine for myself, prioritizing self-care, and placing boundaries on my time. It meant putting my phone down and turning off my laptop when I'm with my loved ones, going for walks outside and taking in the beauty of my surroundings, and making my daily yoga and meditation a sacred part of my life, not something I squeezed in when I had the time. 

At first, doing all of the things it took to stop postponing joy made it almost more difficult to be joyful, because the old anxiety that comes with telling people no, or feeling like I'm letting the ones I love down, hit me full force. But the more I did it, the more I realized something: I was slowing my pace. I was living, eating, speaking, healing, and loving with intention and mindfulness, rather than halfheartedly while multitasking. 

I was feeling peace and joy again. 

While I was at my grandmother's funeral, I was struck by how short life is, and in that moment, it left me feeling empty. Two months later, as I stood behind a car in Asheville staring at a bumper sticker, it hit me again, but this time, I felt challenged. Life is short, and there's so much to be joyful about. We just have to make the choice, today and every day, to stop postponing joy. There's no magical day or event that will flip the switch for you. 

But that means that it can happen today, which is the most beautiful and hopeful thing about it. Don't postpone joy, my friends! Let me know in the comments below how you choose joy every single day, and click here to get the exact bumper sticker I saw as a daily reminder!