Joy Smith's Inspiration for Transformation
Why I do the work of transformation. I became committed to learning about myself from a desire to be happy. I desired to get to know my emotions, my feelings and needs, my wants and desires so that I could respond to my life and not react simply from sensations I didn’t know I had or that I was unable to understand. Doing this work in community, I came to see the benefit to the greater whole. By my being more present, less worried about lots of little things, and more able to respond instead of reacting to life’s situations, the community dynamic improved. I discovered that becoming a peaceful person was not a solitary endeavor. How I related to others, the words I was using, my tone of voice and how they responded to me provided clues to my feelings, and my patterns. It was also true that by consciously making changes, I was encouraging those around me to make the changes they desired in their lives. My changes broke the pattern that we had held together and freed them to seek what they desired in the situation. I realized that I supported the individuals and the group by taking care of myself. That loving and nurturing myself was not selfish, it was necessary to be present with and of service to others. When I wasn’t present with myself, when I didn’t take care of and love myself, I was of no use to anyone, including myself. These insights brought me to looking at the human family, our current culture and this amazing time of transition we live in. Times they are a changing and we have the opportunity to influence what direction they take. Will we as individuals and as a culture accept the fear and scarcity model that leads to war, famine and isolation? Or do we meet this challenge with creativity, imagination, and curiosity. I have accepted this as a spiritual and political challenge to move beyond judgment, disconnection and control into appreciating our diversity, valuing how strong we are together and making the changes that celebrate the opportunity of these fast changing times. I am still committed to being at peace with myself and my commitment has broadened into the understanding that my peace, although not dependent on, is influenced and connected to the plight of the human family. I know that we are dependent on the earth for our survival as a species and do this work to help preserve the earth in its splendor for our great grandchildren. I choose to be of service to life and to work towards the creation of a loving and sustainable human culture.
After being raised Catholic with 12 years of Catholic school, my first life changing revelation happened at 19 years old when I realized that I had choices. Looking back it amazes me that it took that long to realize I had choice about my life. I felt like a kid in a candy store with a world of options before me. Another life changing moment happened several years later when I decided that I could say no just because that was what I chose, no excuses or reasons needed. The third experience that altered my life experience came with the realization that I had acted from an emotion that I was not aware of in the moment. It was almost an hour after I got mad and walked out of the room before I realized that my “reason” for leaving was only a front for the fact that I had gotten angry with my friend. I was appalled that I had acted from feelings that I did not know I was experiencing. This was totally unacceptable to me and set me in pursuit of what I was feeling and the exploration of my inner landscape. These intellectual realizations didn’t prevent me from finding myself lonely and wondering why I wasn’t happy. I thought being happy “should” be an unalienable right. I wondered why I couldn’t just be at peace with myself? This was the point where I became dedicated to getting to know myself and figuring out what I needed to be happy. What did I feel? How could I tell? Where to begin?