Monday, July 17, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 17

In the Medieval period, people believed that life's ups and downs were governed by the Wheel of Fortune. When the zenith was reached, the inexorable, downward journey began. From peasants to kings, no one was happy all the time.  Adversity was seen as a judgement from God, but folks also believed that it shaped and strengthened one's character. Then and now, few people endured non-stop trouble or joy.

 Our lives move along the Wheel, soaring to the top, then lurching to the bottom, and in between, we may find calm, easygoing days. Interestingly enough, great happiness can be just as difficult to handle as great disappointments. To prepare for extremes, we can create an inner landing place, a neutral zone where emotions aren't in control and where you can ground yourself. 

It might save your life. Stress hormones swing a sledgehammer at our bodies, driving up blood pressure and cortisol levels, and chipping away at the immune system.

A landing spot isn't built in a week or a year. It's a work in progress, like the attainment of grace. To be sure, negative thoughts are always trying to tear down our zones, forcing us to build and rebuild.

Inner landscapes are composed of whatever we need. Mine has trash bins, but it also has protective elements, spreading comforting arms around me.

Everyone has a different zone, and we have different ways of reaching it: prayer, meditation, writing, painting, baking, gardening, running (not at this stage of my life), vacuuming, puttering around the house. Whatever works, works. My grandmother thought of her zone as a lightening rod, directing trouble where she wanted it.

I think of my zone as a sort of mud room, a place with cubbyholes, each one labeled.

Rough strife can suck all the air from a room, but a neutral landing zone can give balance to your life allowing you to breathe.

Today, I will put trouble in the "Let It Go" cubbyhole, and I will reach into the "Comfort" drawer.


  1. Great series, I am learning so much from it. I need to go back and re-read several times and seem to be getting something different, each time I read through one of the posts. Then, I go back and read again. You have helped me a great deal and have given me insight I never would have found on my own. Many Thanks.

  2. I like the idea of an inner landing zone. Everyone needs a way to relieve stress. I admit, I'm not often stressed, though my daily morning walks and time in my garden are my inner landing zone. Both are my time of meditation.

  3. I think I would have loved your grandmother~

  4. I have Let It Go, but sometimes, it likes to sneak back and try to rob me of joy. Reading your series is helping me find my comfort cubbyhole.