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Oh yeah, here we go!  I’ve taken a beautiful leap of faith with that feeling of flying and the air whooshing all around me…and I firmly grabbed the swinging trapeze bar.  With a huge smile on my face and a squeal of delight! Bingo.

What’s going on here?  Well, last weekend I took a 3-day transformational workshop for women which was all about finding, nurturing and celebrating our inner selves.  Our inner Queens if you will.  Finding out how to bring out the best of ourselves, which in turn brings energy and life to those around us.  Understanding the power of femininity – what makes us beautiful, powerful, essential and magical!

I went in with an open heart and open mind.  And the dial on 10.  I truly believe to fully get and gain the benefits of workshops like this that you have to be in a clear, open state.  Throw away any skepticism or doubts.  Leave daily stresses behind. Given we started on a Friday afternoon, it was wonderful that we each got a moment to ’empty our basket’ in small groups.  Meaning, to take 3-5 minutes to just unload and share what’s on our minds.  Concerns with family, work…even a little guilt about being in the workshop and not taking care of what we’d normally be doing.  That was my basket to unload; I’d cleared that Friday half-day off from work months ago, but our project was starting to go sideways and it felt weird to pull away from the team.  But once I arrived downtown at the hotel where the workshop was, grabbed a quick late lunch and walked into our room, I felt calm and left that all behind.  I was ready to learn and grow.

I stumble a bit trying to describe what we did because it would not be the complete picture for anyone reading these words.  It would be like taking an apple, stamping the bottom of it on an ink pad, and printing it onto a sheet of paper.  All you would see are the 4 bottom points of the apple where it hits the paper.  That’s what my words would be like trying to explain this workshop in greater detail.  You wouldn’t ‘see’ the full apple and wouldn’t have the full context.  So with that in mind, I’ll give it a whirl.

One of our exercises was to find out what it is we wish for the whole world.  What qualities are the strongest in each of us that make the world a better place?  Once we completed these exercises and started sharing our wishes – really, ourselves – with others, it was amazing.  I looked around me and saw women transformed.  Becoming even more beautiful, relaxed and serene.  Glowing.  Yummy.  Facial tensions from our everyday stresses melting away.  A vibe of happiness and contentment filled the conference room and I could literally see it floating through the windows and swirling out into the bustling, horn-honking high energy of downtown Seattle.  I could tell one of the women wasn’t completely happy with the 4 words she chose.  But the next day she re-introduced herself to us – we were a group of 35 – and her new words truly were hers.  I was sitting right behind her and felt warmth, love and peaceful energy flowing from her.  What an incredible feeling!

So who am I?  Meet JOY.  Joy is at the seat of my soul.  It’s one of the essential pillars to be me.  Joy is happiness multiplied by infinity.  I see joy as a huge trampoline to jump and celebrate upon, or a bunch of springs going boing-boing-boing.  Funny, maybe that’s why I REALLY loved Slinkys as a kid.  When I feel joy I feel like vaulting out of my seat – a double back flip with a full twist and stick the landing!  Or just jumping up and down!  I mean seriously, if I can’t live and breathe each day of my life with joy, I might as well fold up the tent and go home.

I’ve been told sometimes that I’m “too happy.”  HUH??  Well, compared to WHAT??  I know I’m not happy all the time.  If you follow along in here you know that too.  I work through lots of struggles, problems, sadness and anger.  Life. But even at my lowest moments, I know JOY is my pilot light keeping me going.  She might just be a little dim or flickering temporarily, but she’ll shine bright and full strength again.  When she does, I’m back at my center.

And I doodle joy with stars.  Yep, it’s true!  Look through my yellow notepads of scribblings or in my work Filofax and there are stars everywhere.  I still have a large, brass paperweight a director gave me at work over 15 years ago.  What is it?  A star.  I love the shape of stars and I love looking up at the stars as they sparkle and shine at night (OK, I have to use the imagination this time of year in Seattle but I can picture it).  I ‘hear’ them twinkling in the sky.  I wonder at what’s out there.  I have an unusual love of both astronomy AND astrology…but they both are all about the stars.

I love writing joy with smiley faces.  Those emoticons we sprinkle into our online/email writings or texts?  I really and truly ‘hear’ them smiling.  I couldn’t possibly put into words what smiling sounds like but it’s a joyful, delicious sound. Oh, and know what else?  Joy just happens to be my sister-in-law’s name.  And I have THE best sister-in-law in the world, just sayin’.

Just three letters – but oh so much behind them!