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Monday, April 17, 2017

Finding Joy Through the Pain

I haven't blogged since I wrote this post. It has been too difficult. There is emotional pain that comes through the process of healing from a sudden bout of Thyroid Storm and Congestive Heart Failure. But, it's not all bad pain.  Some of it is growing pain - learning pain - finding your true self pain.

Years ago I was a commercial artist.  My college education focused on fine art, illustration and photography.  After I became a mom, I found joy in scrapbooking and spending time with other scrapbookers.  I was selected to be on a couple scrapbook design teams.  I began sharing and blogging about scrapbooking and papercrafting and found joy in teaching others. Then the market crashed and the scrapbooking and crafting industry took a pretty big hit and multiple scrapbook companies went out of business - including the two companies that I was a design team member for.

After my design team days were over, I carried about the business of being a mom - a mom to three beautiful children. I stopped scrapbooking. I stopped creating. I didn't garden as much either (another passion of mine). I stopped blogging. I focused on raising kids. I focused on Autism, as two of my children are on the spectrum. I focused on being a volunteer for youth-related organizations. And, I lost myself in the process.

There was a time where I thought I'd like to do something for me again, so I became a Jamberry Consultant.  I used to be a Cookie Lee Consultant (another company that is no longer in business), and I loved the time I spent getting out and being around other women.  I thought Jamberry might help me do that again.  Being a Jamberry Consultant didn't last long - I realized I didn't love the product that much, and it is difficult to sell something you don't find the time to use.  More importantly, being a Jamberry Consultant didn't provide the outlet of being around other women that I had hoped for.

Last May I started using some Beachbody products and ended up losing weight and meeting my weight loss goals.  This time I knew I LOVED the products (here I am, nearly a year later, and I still love the products).  So, last June, I made the decision to become a Team Beachbody coach.  But, Team Beachbody, like Jamberry, tends to be an internet-based business and does not provide much of an outlet to be around others.  Despite my commitment to the product, I knew there was still something missing in my life.

Authenticity.  As much as I wanted authenticity - craved authenticity - I wasn't being true to who I really am - and that is being an artist.  More than anything, I enjoy creating, along with sharing the experience of art and creativity with others - and I wasn't doing either.

For years I carried a dream that "someday" I would own an art studio and teach art classes. The problem was, someday never came. After my 3rd bout with Congestive Heart Failure, this past September, I finally realized something - if I don't do what I have dreamed of doing someday, I may never achieve my dream.  Two months ago I took a leap of faith - I took out a lease and started that art studio.  Slowly, but surely, I am finding my authentic self again.  I am bringing art and creativity back into my life and I am teaching others to do the same.

Yesterday marked 7 months since that fateful day - a day where I almost lost my life, for the third time, to Congestive Heart Failure.  But that day did something for me - it helped me find my passion again. It helped me find my joy again. It helped to bring me back to my true authentic self and gave me the courage to take a leap of faith.  And today, I am finding joy through the pain.

How about you?  Is there anything missing in your life?  What is keeping you from finding your true, authentic self?  I challenge you to think about it - to journal about it - to find a way to create the life you are meant to live.  Don't wait for someday.  Begin the process of finding your joy today.