Build Your Leaders

Postcard from Asheville

March 2015

Secret to a Joy-Filled Life

Every town has one—and lucky towns have many—that person or those people who inspire us. We run into her at the supermarket and we feel better about ourselves and the world. We see him walking down the street and we are reminded that we’re capable of great things.

She doesn’t preach; her life is her sermon. How he lives his life inspires us.  We think: if she can do, then maybe so can we.

Laurey Masterton was one of those people. I knew her from church and her business, Laurey’s, a restaurant and catering company in downtown Asheville. The slogan of her business was “Don’t Postpone Joy”; it was also the mantra by which she lived her life.

Laurey died last spring of cancer. While she is no longer with us, her legacy of “Don’t Postpone Joy” lives on.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about what it means to live a joy-filled life, and I’ve come to believe love and gratitude are key. When a day is infused with love and gratitude, it cannot help but also be filled with joy. Love + Gratitude = Joy.

I‘m learning that, even on those days when I am sad, I can still be filled with joy.  Emotions are that way. We can experience several—even those we consider to be opposites—at the same time.

Years ago, I was going through a painful break-up. A month after our split, I ran into my ex at the grocery store. By the time I got back to my car, I was shaking I was so upset. I needed time to gather myself before driving home.

Several deep breaths later, I glanced out the window. The sun was shining; it was a warm summer day. I rolled down the window and a gentle breeze rinsed over me. I was grateful for its cool touch.

I looked out into the parking lot. A mother smiled sweetly as she gently placed her young son in a carseat of an older model station wagon. She exuded such love. I knew how she felt; I’ve given and received that kind of love. There’s nothing better.

My perspective shifted. I was still sad, but I also felt joy. And together these emotions co-existed in a strangely beautiful way, not unlike when it’s raining and the sun is shining brightly. Joy is always accessible, no matter how we are feeling.

Laurey was right: there’s never a need to postpone joy. And when you’re ready, love and gratitude will ignite it.

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