The Joy of Purpose

January 11, 2019


I love this time of year. The New Year! Maybe it’s because of the way the stars are aligned (I’m a Capricorn), or perhaps it’s the sense of having a fresh start. Maybe it’s having the opportunity to put away all the Christmas decorations, get organized, and have my clean, tidy house back. Whatever it is, it has already brought me great joy this year.


Which brings me to my “word” for 2019: JOY.


Last year, I chose a word that would guide my year. That word was FUN. At the time, I wasn’t having much of it. I was working a lot and playing a little. I would choose work over an opportunity to get outside and go for a run. I’d work late hours, tapping away on my computer in the dark. Definitely not fun.


I’m not sure if I chose the word JOY for 2019 because of a book I had read last year, The Book of Joy by Douglas Abrams. It features the lives and actual conversations between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (a highly recommended read if you’re lacking joy or fun), or if it was just time for some joy.


Either way, JOY has taken on a new meaning for me already this year.


I’ve set a JOY intention in the mornings, just allowing myself to be purposeful about anticipating it that day. I’ve started to notice little things that bring me joy throughout the day . . . a text from one of my kids, a delicious meal that my husband cooks, quiet time in the morning by the fire, sunshine and blue sky, a blue jay drinking from the bird bath outside my office window, a happy client, a call from my sister, a new class at the rec center. I could go on, but I’ll get to my point. 


When I’m joyful, I feel an underlying sense of purpose – that I’m meant to be doing exactly what I’m doing, exactly at that moment. Purpose is a result of joy (and vice versa!) and can light a fire for other things in your life. It gives you energy, bubbles up your creative juices, and can propel you to new heights.

I came across a great quote several years ago by 19th century English novelist, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley that still resonates:


“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”


I think the soul craves a steady purpose, and maybe the discovery of yours starts with being more present in your day. I think that’s what my JOY intention has done for me. It’s made me notice, even more so than usual, all the wonderful blessings that surround me, from the big revelations to the small coincidences.


Imagine tranquilizing your mind this year with a steady purpose. Perhaps it begins with establishing your word for the year.


In this new year filled with possibilities, what’s your word?

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