It hit me so hard I said it out loud to an empty room. “I am missing the joy of my children’s lives.”
I stood frozen over the kitchen sink where I had been preparing vegetables for supper. Earlier in the day I had received a call from my daughter and I was smiling as I reflected on her good news and at her career success. I thought about how both of my kids had started their careers at the bottom. They had worked hard to progress very quickly in thier carrers. And how both families were happy and healthy. I felt so much joy and happiness in that moment. Grateful for the many gifts in my life.
In the next breath and split second my joy was stripped away. Panic flooded me. In that moment I just knew something bad would happen. Impending doom. I would be caught off guard. I felt vulnerable.
My mind immediately took off on a list of possible problems these young families might experience. And just like that I had lost my immense sense of joy only to be replaced with fear and anxiety. For no reason. I didn’t have any reason except life training of waiting for the other shoe to fall.
If you have ever felt so much love for your children or a loved one you know what I mean. That split second that turns immense love into a fast fall self-talk about how our loved ones could be hurt. Not even realizing how quickly our joy was taken away without a second thought. We fall into the rabbit hole of unending possible events to harm them.
Mindfully I have come to realize joy is a complicated emotion for me. I suspect maybe for most of us its elusive aspect of joy is vulnerability. In consciously working on finding joy in my life and practicing gratitude daily I have reframed my self talk.
Awareness is always the starting point. And today that awareness allowed me to see my process and how quickly I fell out of gratitude and into fear. This whole process of self-awareness took less than 15 seconds. I had to laugh when I experienced this epiphany because it meant I could return to my place of joy more quickly every time I closed the door on negative self talk.
Grateful to be pulled back into my happy place I returned to cooking. Smiling as I stirred my curry sauce. Holding joy close to my heart as I thought about how blessed my children and I really am. Knowing when the next shoe falls we will face it with confidence of knowing we have each other.