Mike K. Sharpe, © 1997

Life was ok. Not great, just ok. I wasn’t as happy as I knew I could be. I was single and felt that I needed someone to share life with in order to really be happy. I had fun once in a while, but was waiting to find that special someone to enjoy life’s pleasures with. A lot of things felt like they had to be done with someone else, not alone. I was also careful, I didn’t want to meet just anyone. I wanted to meet that right person, that person you are really compatible with. I didn’t want to be with someone for all the wrong reasons, just because I needed someone. It was starting to get bad. I was almost thirty and never had a long lasting relationship. I felt I needed someone badly, I had so much to offer and could not do the things I really wanted and truly enjoy life until that person showed up.

It finally happened. My prayers were answered. This wonderful, beautiful, vibrant woman appeared in my life. It was a miracle, like she was an angel sent to bring me back to life. Sure I was alive, but not living. Her name was Joy. There could not have been a more suitable name, because she brought beauty and pleasure to everyone and everything. The moment I saw her I was overwhelmed by her presence and felt this instant connection with her. This was definitely love a first sight. She was new to the area and joined the fitness club that I belonged to. I first saw her on the stairmaster and immediately felt compelled to approach her. I wouldn’t normally approach females and actually was usually intimidated by beautiful women. I never thought I was good enough and did not want to scare them off. I also did not want women to know I was attracted to them. But, this mysterious angel was not intimidating, she was welcoming. She appeared not to know how beautiful and stimulating she was or she did not care. She was just being.

I got on the stairmaster next to her and started a conversation with her. We introduced ourselves and then everything else just sort of fell into place. I was not overbearing or aggressive, I just liked to be in her presence. Through her I learned to enjoy life more than I ever thought possible. She changed me or I guess she opened up my heart. We were friends, truly honest and open. We never got intimate. Well that’s not true. All the time we spent together was passionate and heart felt, but not sexual. It never came up. We were too busy enjoying the pleasures of breathing, living and being. I guess for our short time together it wasn’t important to want or overindulge. With Joy I enjoyed the simplest and purest pleasures like walking in the forest, just listening to things living. We went on hiking and camping adventures. Sometimes we just sat quietly watching birds or squirrels play. I loved sitting in front of a campfire letting the flames dance me into a trance and all of the evils and sadness of the earth would disappear. Joy reminded me to look up at night once in a while and get lost in the vastness of the universe. Joy never told me to do this or do that and she never lectured to me on how I should live or behave. I just watched her and followed her lead. Eventually, it came naturally for me to find peace in my existence.

Through Joy I learned to embrace happiness and stop worrying about how others behave. I learned that I could only teach others by my example and not by my self-promoting or expert advice. I soon realized that happiness was the ability not to be unhappy. It’s the simplest thing, but easier said than done. After being exposed to years of how to react in society and to create your own and others misery. It’s a big transition to talk yourself out of the normal contagious, negative, self-destructive ways of society. It’s especially challenging when you find yourself changing or waking up, but the rest of the world is still asleep. Who do I think I am anyway? Why do I know ? Why isn’t everyone else catching on? All I knew was I was happy and it came from deep within. I wasn’t always ecstatic or constantly smiling on the outside, but I began to feel a happiness on the inside.

Things started to change in everything I did. I became more patient and forgiving. I had a recharging of my energy and strength. Sometimes I found myself just pushing and pushing at the gym. Everyone thought I was fanatical. Other times my energy and strength were low, but I allowed that to be ok. Joy was my inspiration.

There was one time that I almost had a dramatic relapse. It lasted for a short period and in that time I found myself uptight and anxious about Joy. I almost felt dependent upon her to maintain my high spirits, like she was a genie in a lamp. She was there to make me happy, to fulfill my wishes, I could not do it alone. One day she did not show up at the gym and I felt let down or hurt and maybe even angry with her. Another day, I saw her talking and laughing with some attractive, muscular guy. A very strange feeling came over me, I felt out of control or lost and my workout went terribly, unfocused. I knew I had to do something, so I went to a nearby park and went for a walk. I tried to think and figure things out, but no answers came to me. I gave up, just sat there in the woods and started picking up fallen leaves and examining them. Then I watched as two chipmunks played in the trees right in front of me. They seemed like they were playing tag. I laughed to myself and after realizing how good that felt I laughed some more and a tremendous smile overtook me. I choose to be happy, nobody can do that for me. Joy had given me a tremendous gift, one that others would hopefully receive, but the gift came from within myself. She gave me something I already had, I just did not use it. I could not rely on Joy for happiness, it was my responsibility alone. The funny thing was that we were not dating, we were not in a sexual relationship. I thought for a moment and wondered why she and I were not sexually involved. I drew a blank. I just could not think of her that way and I could not see why.

That night I went to bed with my inside smile going strong. I looked forward to seeing Joy again, but at the same time knew it was my intention to be positive and happy even if she mysteriously disappeared. I didn’t know why I felt that way I just did.

The next morning came quickly. It was still dark out as it was raining heavily. This sort of dreary weather used to make me lazy and sullen, but this day seemed fresh and remarkably alive. My senses seemed extremely alert. I went into the bathroom and did a double take in the mirror. Something wasn’t right. What was going on? As I gazed into the mirror it all became clear. Awesomely, humorously, and pleasantly clear. From the second I had first seen Joy until just seconds ago, I was asleep. I dreamt the whole experience. Joy was a lesson, an experience that I desperately needed. A gift from within me for the rest of me. Joy was always there, joy is part of me. I smiled on the outside.

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