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Excerpted from Finding Joy by Charlotte Kasl. Copyright 1995 by Charlotte Kasl. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Joy may appear to come suddenly, but in reality we prepare for joy every time we speak our truths."

  Charlotte Kasl, Finding Joy, Part 3

Prepare for Joy

Joy may seem illusive or fleeting, yet there is a path we can walk that brings the delight, passion, and sweetness of joy into our lives, sweeping over us, filling us, transporting us, making life feel worth the trouble. Joy may appear to come suddenly, but in reality we prepare for joy every time we speak our truths, care for ourselves, expand our knowledge, nurture our friendships, let people love us, take on new adventures, and go where our hearts lead us.

My friend Janet is about to have her second baby. She has developed a strong bond with her husband; created a cozy living space, a network of friends, a good job; has read a great deal on parenting; and has enjoyed her first child. She has also spent many years investing in her personal growth. In other words, over the years she has built a nest for herself, both physical and emotional, that enables joy to flourish amid the fears and difficulties of having a new child.

Preparation for joy can span the decades of our lives and even go back to the time of our ancestors. For example, I am currently making plans to go backpacking. Preparation began a couple of months ago when I started working out at a gym to strengthen my leg muscles. Or perhaps preparation started even earlier, when I took a racketball class fifteen years ago in an attempt to get regular exercise. Or was it when I was a child, and experienced the wonder and joy of hiking with my father in the pristine forests and mountains of Montana? Is that when I started preparing? 

I remember back even further, to stories from my grandmother, a botanist, about taking her young children out in the woods for walks and picnics, and I realize that joy is passed down through the ages. It is a paradox to say we are always preparing for joy, because when we prepare for joy--living by love and our heart's desire--we are experiencing it as well.

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