Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark

Real Joy, Right Now

Do you often hear yourself saying, "When such and such happens, then I'll be happy"? Why wait for happiness when it's available to you right now, at this moment?

By Sally Kempton

Step Four: Relax with Reality

I came to understand this recently as I watched my friend Joel (not his real name) navigate his way through a major life crisis. Joel's journey is paradigmatic—it shows in high relief the steps that can take you to steady contentment.

When his troubles started, Joel had what appeared to be a highly successful professional life. A recognized authority on large-scale organizational change, he received handsome fees for giving speeches to business groups around the world.

In 1999, Joel got an idea for an e-business. His plan was to get it up and running, make it successful, cash out, and use the money to finance what he really wanted to do. A year later, just as the Internet bubble was bursting, he came down with a severe case of pneumonia. In the nine months that it took Joel to recover his health, his business venture went belly-up and the stock market tanked, wiping out most of his investments. His wife wasn't working. They had a mortgage and private school tuition to pay, but their savings had been decimated, and between the two of them, they had almost no income.

That part wasn't so bad, he says. It was spring, and he spent a lot of time out on the lawn, watching the birds and ruminating, something he hadn't had time to do in years. His friends told one another that Joel's illness was turning out to be a blessing in disguise, a much-needed opportunity for him to get some rest.

Life got harder, though, when he began looking for work. His lecture gigs had dried up, and when he looked for corporate jobs, no one would hire him. For Joel—as for so many former surfers of the 1990s economy—the first years of the 21st century offered an unremitting series of blows to the ego. "We were broke," he recalls. "I was completely failing in my obligation to support my family, and the financial insecurity was really scary for my wife. All the external moorings—the things you count on, like praise and satisfaction in work—were dropping out of my life."

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark
Full Name
Address 1
Address 2
Zip Code:
Email (req):

Reader Comments

joan kushner

why do you think that taking prozac gives one 'contenment'? it's simply not true.

shirley knudsen

Tjhank you for giving me some hope with your amazing article "Real Joy Right Now".
I am in a terribly dark place right now .Instead of my boys leaving "the nest" I had to leave my 3 teenage sons to follow my husband up the "corporate ladder to another town 200 miles away. Having just arrived my mother died suddenly of a heart attack, my brother died shortly after of bowel cancer and a short time my husband was out on his mountain bike and had a massive heart attack and died instantly. I didn't even get to say "good-bye to him". My 3 sons all live far away and I feel very alone.
I will work through what you have written and thank you once again for giving me hope.

Shirley Knudsen


What a fitting article. I claimed bankruptcy and lost my job all in one year and I am about to go on social assistance, if I qualify. As weird as it sounds, I am even afraid to say I am at peace. It is as if the universe gave me an opportunity to start over again and this time to make things right. I feel a sense of contentment at the moment, however, can only imagine a small voice in my head saying "how can you be so calm?" I respond to it by saying the universe shall provide.

See All Comments »      Add a Comment »

Your Name:


Stay Connected with Us!

Yoga Journal Live events
ep14 YJ LIVE! Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Sep 14-21, 2014
florida YJ LIVE! Florida
Hollywood, FL
Nov 13-17, 2014

More Events

Join Yoga Journal's Benefits Plus
Liability insurance and benefits to support
teachers and studios.
Learn More
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 4 FREE GIFTS
Your subscription includes
Yoga for Neck & Shoulders • Yoga Remedies
Yoga for Headaches • Calm, Cool, Collected
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Yoga Journal
and my 4 FREE downloadable Yoga Booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions