Tag Archives: appreciating others

Why I Seek Joy.

22 Aug

Recently, I transformed this blog from The Appreciator to Joy Seekers Collection. And to be completely honest, I’m not sure where I’m going with it. That’s not completely honest. I kind of have a plan but if you are going to be a champion of seeking joy – you better be good at it.


And I’m not sure I am. But we’ll get back to that.

As you may or may not know, Joy is not the same as happiness. Joy comes from somewhere within you. Something external makes you happy. So don’t strive only to be happy all the time. Because if you do – you’re dependant on factors in which you can’t control. You can’t control the diagnosis of cancer, or the death of a loved one or a freak disaster. So if you are riddled with one of these issues or a million more – you’re not happy. You can be happy waking up, then the day just beats down on you and draws that happiness out of you.

But joy.

finding joy

Oh but joy comes from within. If you have joy in your life, you have a different outlook. A different mindset.

I’ll give you a personal example. I have a lot of them. There was a time in my life about 19 years ago to be exact when everything I knew crumbled around me. A lot of you have heard the story of my dad’s death but this has to do with when my dad divorced my mom. That was harder. Hard times seem to come in triples or more. This is what was going on with me at 30 years old:

  • My dad announced to our close-knit family that he was leaving my mom for another woman after 30+ years of marriage. This completely shocked us. My dad wasn’t like that!
  • The first ad agency I went to work for after college and where I built my career – lost the core piece of business and I had to help let go almost 15 people several of them, close friends. I had a job but clearly needed to look elsewhere
  • I fell through a glass table early in the morning (long story) and had to get stitches in my knee (owww!)

My whole world had crashed in on me. My family which was my mom, sister and brother were blown away by my dad’s announcement. And so hurt. My dad and I were really close and I couldn’t wait to marry someone just like him. Charismatic, a leader, funny and someone people respected. As he led my family around to 9 different cities and houses all we ever had was each other. This was so uncharacteristic. You can read the whole story here.

But this is about JOY.

I had no happiness at this time. I was beyond sad, let down and deflated. And what I’m going to say next is really not revolutionary. And maybe a little nutty. But it’s an example. I used to look at the trees outside my mom’s house and my apartment in Chicago and think about them. How long had they been there? How rooted they were in the ground. How God cares for them as He cares for me. And I started to think that I could get through this time as the trees had gotten through storms and drought and even new construction. I stared at these trees. I became grounded like these trees and it gave me hope. That I could get through this and one day, I’d be looking back on this situation. It made me wonder what part I could play in this drama in my life that could be positive.

That hope turned into joy as I discovered parts of me I never knew I had. Like forgiveness. Forgiveness is a form of joy because you are letting go of really negative feelings. Some of which may have existed inside you for a long time – keeping true joy at bay. Like hatred, betrayal and plain stupidity. When you forgive you look at life and a situation differently. Your focus moves from the person you’ve been hurt by to trying to understand the entire situation in a less personal way. When I did this I understood that my dad’s ego was bruised by retiring early. He lost his sense of identity and when a person in a leadership role loses his followers he is left with nothing. This is no excuse but my ability to try and understand this about his decision made me stop just being hurt by his stupid actions and take control of my feelings. He had screwed up, big time but I didn’t.

Amy Fulford, joy

OK. So that was really deep. If you’ve read this far.

I seek for joy to be the cornerstone of who I am. I’m not there yet but I have a pretty good perspective. This can be a goal of yours too – no matter what issues you have now (newsflash – you’ll ALWAYS have issues!) whatever your upbringing was or troubles you face.

With this Joy Seekers Collective, we’re going to go on this journey together in the coming weeks and months. Sign up now to come on board!

appreciating others: reggie watts & jane fonda

5 Jun

more than anything i want to get out of my comfort zone.  but i don’t try too hard to do so.  a while ago i mentioned liking airplane turbulence because it jolts me out of that zone and there is a bit of unknowing, uncertainty and immediacy about it.  notice i said that airplane turbulence gets me out of my comfort zone.  not bungee jumping or sky diving but air pockets.  that’s what i mean by “i don’t try too hard to do so”.

sometimes – you can be transported outside your mental comfort zone by just watching a video or reading a book and that is where reggie watts comes in. right now, i’m on a flight from dallas to minneapolis – a small regional jet.  i put in my headphones and started in on catching up on some TED videos.  most if not all – can be transporting.  but these in particular i want to share with you.

reggie watts 

is a brooklyn based artist – comedian and musician.  i’d love to see him live.  he improvises much of his act.  i love him because he is completely OUT THERE.  but in a good way!  what went through my head while watching the TED video was this:

what the hell is he talking about?
people are laughing and i don’t get it
i may be stupid
watch again
really pay attention (note: we’ll talk about that later…)
watch some more
bob my head and jive
come to realize he is poking fun at the pseudo intellelectualism
i feared i didn’t have
at the beginning of me watching this
i love it

check his video out and google him.  way to make me thing differently, reggie.

jane fonda

was next.  blown away at how she is giving the “third act” (or aging) a whole new outlook.  she talks about breaking down this curve – you know the curve – you are born, you peak at mid-age then deteriorate as you age – the third act.  jane is challenging “that’s the way we’ve always thought” and i would say winning, if you ask me.  she has a lot to say and some wonderfully deep thoughts like:

when you get older, you review and re-evaluate  what you’ve been told throughout your life by loved ones – or not- and now being of age to challenge those truths or at least come to the realization that those words or actions probably weren’t directed at you but at themselves.  aging lets you heal and see who you really are, maybe.
she also talks about being a girl and then a woman.  how we’re born all authentically true to ourselves and then we grow up and get hit with wanting to be popular and fitting in and being loved and it beats out of us who we really are.  jane says that in the third act, that authentic spirit can come back full force if it is recognized and cherished.
i’ll tell you one thing, jane and reggie are two thinkers that knocked me out of my mind’s comfort zone on my little plane to minneapolis today.
and there wasn’t even any turbulence.

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