Audio Newsletter 003

Joy Makes A Home

Joy is aptly named – she looks at trouble expecting to find something good hidden in its folds. You can probably identify with the way life took Joy for a ride in this story. It’s not the details that matter but how we can all be brilliantly crazy sometimes. This is just one ‘joy” story. Listen:


When life interrupts our plans, instinct snaps into action. The natural tendency is freed and we cope with brilliance by doing things exactly the way we want to—it’s a form of craziness. I can spot anyone’s crazyby the way life accommodates the thing they are wired to do. If it’s in line with our purpose, life steps aside, and lets it happen.

I have a story for that. My friend Joy faced a serious problem when the roof caved in on her modest mobile home in the woods of Oregon. Her husband died the year before, so she was dealing with it on her own. She called for help, but prepared to abandon the fragile structure at a moment’s notice.  All of us—friends and family—were tremendously concerned for her. 

Joy and her husband Dave owned the property, and over almost 20 years had improved everything they could get their hands on, making it all efficient and cozy, even their little trailer. From organic gardening to French lace on the windows, Joy was happy in their little corner of Eden. Before Dave died, they reached the peak of contentment, active and resourceful.

But now, it seemed like the dream had come to an end. Joy seriously considered selling the property and moving into town near her sons. Propelled by the crisis, she talked to people about selling, looked into houses in town, and packed everything that needed protection from the threat of the house’s total collapse. She also looked into loans to fix the roof.

Escape didn’t motivate her; repairing and saving her home did!

Her son came over, tore into the damage, and found the problem in the roof. He put up a support beam to brace the ceiling. With the prop in place, and knowing the source of the problem, Joy recovered. The facts came together, and it was clear that she was already in the best position: she owned the property, free and clear. She just needed an affordable place to live, and the trailer was her home. She went to her default and did what she could with what she had. She made plans to put money into fixing the trailer.

Even though it seemed crazy to me—Why waste money on a broken-down trailer?!—Joy had no other choice, financially. With the decision made, she was a whirling dervish, exited and happy. So we all bought into her positive energy, and she began to take back her home. Bustling with excitement, Joy was in flow and the workmen followed her lead, putting aside their judgments.

Here is where Joy’s “crazy” kicked in. In fixing the roof, there was a domino effect toward the exterior wall. The wiring was outdated and the window was off-kilter. Joy worked the situation as in a labyrinth, turning this way and that, some unspoken, automatic, unconscious directive firmly in gear. I knew we reached her crazywhen she said, “Since we’re doing all that, let’s put in the French doors I’ve always wanted.” French doors? On an old trailer that threatens to fall down around her ears? But French doors she got! It’s the way she got French doors that made Joy so happy. She says, 

I did shop for them and ran out of time, energy and resources to buy new ones. So while I was resting on it, (my friend) Tom said he had some in his barn that I could have. 

The doors didn’t have separated window panes, which is what Joy really thought she was after, but now she says it’s really nice. She loves the effect of the full glass, giving clean and distinct views into the open room and out to the porch.

The point is, she didn’t have to push hard to get her heart’s desire. Life gave her the opportunity, opened a window so she could see, and then opened doors so she could enter in, wholeheartedly. Once everything was fixed, as far as possible, everything about the place and the property made sense again; life was back to Joy’snormal. 

I feel sure that no one else in all the world had the exact combination of circumstances, pressures, and resources that Joy had, nor would anyone else respond as she did. And yet, everything had an equilibrium that Joy understood. She tried following advice. In her panic, she pursued reasonable solutions, as others saw it. But in the end, she was on that property for a reason, and had a lifetime of proofs to show that it was her unique path.

We can’ learn to follow life’s zigzag—happily and voluntarily—taking the dips and turns as they come. Every person is strong in a unique way, equipped for the quirks of her own life. We can see our strength clearly when we haveto operate without a plan.

When I shared with Joy my version of her story, she asked, “What was the point,…that you should follow your heart rather than making a plan?”

Actually, the point is that you can’t consciouslyfollow your heart, and that making plans merely puts you in motion. When we are thrown off-track by the unexpected, that’s when the heart’s mind gets the floor. It’s when the mind is startled and loses its hold that the heart comes forward with instinctive logic, not emotion. The opportunity presents itself and our heart knows exactly what to do. In such moments, heart, mind, emotion, and the physical are in harmony.