Bit-of-Joy #18

You cannot struggle your way to joy. Struggle and joy are not on the same channel. You JOY your way to JOY. – Abraham Hicks

Many years ago I had the good fortune to experience a 30-day retreat in the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In the midst of my first ‘midlife crisis’ (at age 30), I was absolutely struggling – emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Early on in the retreat, I was directed to reflect on the biblical story of Jesus remaining behind in the temple when he and his parents had traveled to Jerusalem (Jesus in the Temple).

The Spiritual Exercises rely heavily on the imagination so that participants place themselves inside the biblical scenes, taking on the perspective of one ‘actor’ or another. So, I asked Joseph the same question Jesus had:

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49-50)

In my imagination, I listened for Joseph’s response. Joseph explained that the timing wasn’t right, and Jesus asked, “How will I know when the time is right?” And Joseph lovingly replied, “When you are no longer agitated.”

Not being agitated doesn’t mean that everything will be easy or pleasant or hunky-dory. Not being agitated means we embrace the power of choice and remain present to the moment. We can act quickly but not in a hurry. We can trust ourselves to make good decisions.

If we accept the present situation – regardless of how messed up it might be – not in apathy or tolerance of evil and immorality, but with the joy of knowing BETTER is POSSIBLE, we can see our way to that new possibility. We can joy our way to joy.


  1. thats cool- joy your way to joy, love it . in the place of deep abiding calm though agitation may be all around us is where joy resides .. we have to give up our panic mode our reactionary self and settle and breathe and come in and there it is…
    today at work I said enjoy your day to some customers
    so it is out there janet…


  2. Wise advice, for when agitated or in a crisis. Not to make important decisions then, but to wait until the time is right (no longer agitated and now being present, no longer being ruled by emotions). Better IS most always possible!


  3. Agitation is such a great word. I think immediately of the agitation of a washing machine, especially when the load is out of balance. A 30 day retreat sounds like just the ticket right now!


    • Karen – the washing machine is a great image! Your virtual roadtrip seems like a 30-day retreat you’ve designed for yourself. I hope you are enjoying it. Are you considering an actual 30-day silent retreat? I’d recommend the place I went in California but you may be able to find something similar in Canada. Let me know if you want to chat about it offline.


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