Author Caroline Myss once said that we should be careful not to believe that life is always about pain or healing our pain. The journey of healing is an important one, true, but it’s not the only journey in this lifetime.
But when healing is finally achieved, we must careful not to start desperately looking for new wounds to heal (especially if there are none left to be found). Otherwise, we may find ourselves working old wounds that we should let go already, or worse: creating new wounds so we can go through the healing process again (a process we are also comfortable with because we are deeply familiar with it.)
No, this is not good. We must learn that life isn’t always about feeling old wounds or healing old wounds–sometimes life is just about living in pure joy.
Shifting Towards Joy
Believe it or not, joy is hard for a lot of us to cope with. The majority of us believe that we have to be wounded-without-hope-of-healing, or wounded-with-a-constant-need-for-healing in order to feel like we are truly living. But neither constant pain, nor the constant healing of pain, is required for living.
You see, at one time, we may have identified as a person who didn’t take care of our wounds and, therefore, we were in constant turmoil: never knowing why this was the case, but always blaming someone else for our problems. But then we grew up and we become aware of our wounds and began to heal them. This was wonderful because we were recognizing our responsibility for healing our own wounds.
But then–even then–after healing our wounds, we may have found that we became attached to being “the healer of our wounds.” We got stuck in yet another pattern: but this wasn’t the pattern of being a “wounded soul,” it was the pattern of being a “wound detective” constantly searching within us for all the broken bits of us to fix–even if nothing was broken anymore, we kept searching and fixing, because we got so comfortable with solving the riddles of our pain.
We got so used to praying quietly inside of us for so many years, that we had trouble waking up to the fact that the time had come for life to be our prayer, and for our song to no longer be a groan of pain, but a delicious chuckle of delight.
The Broken, The Healer of Their Brokeness, and The Joyful Journeyman/Journeywoman
The modern person mostly falls under one of these two categories:
1. The Broken Person who is unaware of their brokeness and pain and thus is fated to repeat their negative, unconscious patters until the end of their days.
2. The Healer of Their Brokeness and Pain who is aware of their broken-heartendness and pain, but is fated to repeat their constant search for the brokeness inside of them with an obsession with “fixing” wounds (even when all wounds are gone) until their end of days.
Finally, there is a third category, which only a few modern people fall into:
3. The Joyful Journeyman/Journeywoman who recognizes woundedness and brokeness when it comes up, heals it, but then returns to a state of joy whenever the healing process is done and does not seek new wounds and new brokeness to either feel or heal.
The Joyful Journeyman (or Journeywoman) has the balance of life intact: he or she knows that there is a season for recognizing ones brokeness (the winter of our inner life), there is a season for healing that brokeness (the spring of our inner life), and, finally, that there is a season for simply rejoicing in oneself (the summer of our inner life.)
The Joyful Journeyman/Journeywoman knows the wisdom of the ancients: that for every thing there is a season.
It is the joyful journeyman (or journeywoman) who knows that the creative process is not inspired by pain, nor by the healing of pain, but by the joy of living.
The Surprising Secret To Getting Stuff Done
So many people come to me because they want to know the secret to getting stuff done.
Here’s the secret: always begin and end with joy.
Many people already know this simple truth, but they struggle with it because, like I said before, joy is hard for most of us to cope with.
Don’t believe me? Then ask yourself why you feel that being creative must always begin with pain, struggle, strain, or hassle? Ask yourself why have you chosen to ignore the very reason you began to be creative in the first place: the simple joy of creating?
There is something fishy going on if you think that your passion–the thing that gives you so much joy–must always be a pain to start. That which seeks to offer joy must be created with joy or else it will only project pain. If you’re struggling to start your story today–and your intention is to give others joy through your story–then please, by all means, don’t write that story. If writing your story is a pain, then reading your story will be equally painful. If you don’t enjoy your story, why would you expect someone else to?
Start writing with joy and you are more likely to end it with joy. Added to that: give up the belief that writing is always supposed to be a pain to start. Instead, acquire the belief that writing should always begin (and end) with joy.
The Power of Joy
We’ve all experienced the great joy of the creative writing process when we first began it, but we often forget about that joy when disappointments, failures, mistakes and rejections block this great joy from fully taking flight in us. After the failures happen, we may take a break from our creativity in order to address our creative blocks and heal them. This is wonderful, but after our healing ends, we must not forget to return back to those initial feelings of joy.
We must challenge ourselves to always return to that joy.
If you, like so many of my readers, are feeling strained, stressed, and dispirited at the start of the creative writing process, then ask yourself today: why have I forgotten the joy of creating? Why have I chosen to make it a constant struggle? Is it possibly because I want to remain broken and I feel comfortable in that space of brokeness? Is it possibly that I want to keep being “the healer of my broken wounds” and I feel very comfortable being a “wound detective”?
Or is it because I’m uncomfortable (or afraid) to live in joy?
Challenge yourself today by asking yourself:
What if this isn’t the winter of my life anymore–when all was darkness and no sun shone on the horizon? What if this isn’t the spring of my life anymore–when only a spark of light could be seen, and I barely knew what it was to be in the sunlight?
What if this is the summer of my life: an inner season that is beyond pain, and beyond the healing of my pain? Can I allow myself to take in the Sun’s beautiful rays as It takes Its seat across the zenith of the afternoon sky? Can I allow myself to finally feel what it is to be joyful?
Challenge yourself today: start and end your creative process with joy.
Because the truth is getting stuff done is easy: it’s letting yourself feel the joy of getting stuff done that’s the hard part.
much joyful love,
Today’s Courage Exercise
Embrace the joy of writing. Embrace the joy of living.
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