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Which Came First: Following Joy, or Making the World a Better Place?
September 24, 2022

We’re starting to get some hints here in Indiana that Fall, harvest, and transition are upon us. While I’m grateful to have a snowbird plan out of the cold, gray winter, I’m also grateful to live in a four-season climate with its quarterly reminder of the passage of time.

Crabapples are Ripe.
Berries on Tree Branch
The birds will enjoy these.
Tomatoes on the vine.
Heavy with fruit, these tomato vines are about finished for the season.

Year 2022 will soon come to a close. Before I know it, I’ll be writing fresh goals, selecting a new guiding word and writing a mantra for 2023.

The Book of Joy

When our neighborhood book club chose The Book of Joy for our September read, you might think my guiding words for 2022, “Joy and Fun,” or my mantra, “Follow Joy,” would have immediately come to mind. Didn’t even dawn on me until I was halfway through the book. 

Whatever I’m reading slips into my consciousness in a profound way, especially a book like this one, a glimpse into a sweet friendship between two spiritual leaders that rises above the differences in the traditions of the religions they lead. 

The Pillars of Joy

I internalized the teachings of The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on compassion, gratitude, and generosity–all “pillars” for which joy is an immediate by-product. Each chapter was singing my tune. Dancing my dance. Speaking my love language. 

The biggest take-away in this book, for me, was a short discussion on aging and dying. An optimist at heart, I loathe to be maudlin, but realistically, even if I live to be 102 years-old like my Grandma Princess, I am well over half way there. This has been on my mind recently, so when I read The Dalai Lama’s words from The Book of Joy, page 166, I ran into our home office where BF was working and exclaimed, “I’ve just found my mantra for the rest of my life!” 

He immediately put down what he was working on and said, “Well, let’s hear it.”

“We are guests on this planet, visitors who have come here for a short time, so we need to use our days wisely, to make our world a little better for everyone.”  The Dalai Lama

The notion of behaving like a guest, being respectful of our planet the way I would a friend’s home to which I’d been invited, speaks to me. The reminder I’m here for a short time is paramount. In these years of wisdom, I must be mindful of how I choose to use my days. And finally, I do want to make the world a better place. Always and for everyone

I don’t have a definitive plan yet for how I will implement my new mantra, but I’m excited about having one that includes making the world a better place, and it goes right along with this year’s mantra, “Follow Joy.” 

This whole following joy and making the world a better place . . . to me, it’s a chicken/egg question. 

A dozen eggs
Which Came First?

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  1. Thank you, Krista!

  2. Beautiful.


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Debi Dixon

Debi Dixon

The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.

When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.

I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.

Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.

Inspirational Quote

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
~Joseph Campbell

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