By Suzanne Wiggins
One early spring morning while walking in the park, I spotted a little girl riding a tricycle towards me on the sidewalk. She was pedaling frenziedly, curls blowing in the speed-induced breeze. As she approached, she looked up at me with the sweetest smile and what I can only describe as a look of pure joy on her face. I chuckled aloud and in that instant I knew exactly what I was searching for. I wanted to recapture the joy of a child.
What is that, you ask? It’s waking up excited to face the day knowing incredible adventure awaits. It’s feeling lighthearted because you have no worry and harbor no ill will towards others. Challenges are met with inquisitiveness and humor versus frustration and negativity. It’s trading expectation of how others should behave and how situations should unfold for an eager anticipation of what will be revealed. In simplest terms, joy is letting go of control and allowing life to surprise us. It’s similar to no longer caring to search out all your presents in the weeks leading up to Christmas, after realizing how much more fun and glorious it is to wait and savor the surprise hidden beneath the beautiful wrapping.
I’m not saying that I expect to live in a constant state of childish joy. But when you capture that feeling even briefly, you want to find it again as often as possible. And how is this achieved? Well most importantly, you must believe that joy is possible. Too often we dismiss those desires that burn in our hearts, choosing instead to deny that our lives can change in great and miraculous ways…simply by believing it is possible. I encounter people on a daily basis who tell me that they are too old to follow their dreams, or their unhappy relationship cannot be fixed, or they’ll never find love, find work they’re passionate about, enough money to travel, or the discipline to lose weight. Why the hell not?! Unfortunately, they no longer believe.
Honestly, I do understand why and how they got to that point. I use to be a non-believer myself. I didn’t believe I deserved my heart’s desire. I would tell myself that I was ok and that it didn’t matter that I wanted so much more. I willingly sat idle waiting for someone special to arrive and validate my worth and confirm my secret suspicion that I was pretty great and deserved praise and love. Eventually that person did arrive, and amazingly, it turned out to be me.
We don’t come into this world feeling unworthy or undeserving. We are told this with words, facial expressions, and angry disapproval. We’re conditioned, usually by the very people who are supposed to have our best interest at heart. But what’s important is that we figure out that love isn’t perfect. And just because someone we love told us a story doesn’t necessarily make it true. Joy is in the letting go. The giant cleansing exhale of all the thoughts and memories that keep us stuck, in order to make room for a deep inhale of beauty, love, positivity and strength. The things which fan the flames of our belief. A belief that we can create anything we desire, big or small.
I still see that little girl on the tricycle so clearly in my mind’s eye. How easy it would have been to walk past and not have taken notice of something so mundane and insignificant. But I’m so very grateful that I was awake and paying attention that day. For the biggest life lessons are often taught in the smallest moments and sometimes the smallest people. Don’t believe me. Believe yourself.