Courage, Strength and Wisdom

by Tess

My guest today is my dear friend, Joy, from Unfolding Your Path to Joy. Joy lives is on a sail boat where she is raising her children in sunshine and moon beams and simplicity.

 She invited me to visit her and took me to her comfort beach where she spends her time jogging, drumming, and loving life. If you don't know her I know you'll love her! It's my pleasure and joy to have her here with us. Enjoy!

Strength, Courage, and Wisdom….
I read Tess' blog because each time I visit there is something new to stretch my mind, encourage me to step outside of my comfort zone, or inspire me to try something new. I take what I learn here and use it to challenge myself in a way that I otherwise might not have.

In life, I am known to be quite bold in general. I stand in faith, I lead with my heart, I embrace exuberantly, I take risks, I make choices that soothe my soul but may seem unconventional to you.

I will tell you that I am shy, but the truth is I step beyond my shyness to get to know you. I listen intently because I know you have been placed in my life for a reason. I want to know you because you exist, your very existence fascinates me. I want to know who you are in this moment, what makes your heart happy, what are you doing creatively in your life that makes your spirit shine, where have you been and where would you like to be?

What are your strengths, what are your passions, what puts the genuine smile on your face. I want to know this because you are placed in my life for a reason, you are a reflection of me; the more I know you, the more I know *me*, the more I have to share with others.
 I step outside of myself to connect with you, to have a conversation because you are important to me. I step outside of myself to experience life as I do because if I stayed *in* my box I might be comfortable, but I would experience nothing, and in the context of nothing, who would I be? If I am nothing, who are you? So, I share this story with you today because my Spirit soars when touched by sunlight, moonbeams, star's glow…aren't we all little rays of Light to each other?
On a day full of brilliant sunshine warming my harbor, my hills, all around me, my heart was happy. An entire day with no commitments or obligations stretched out before me. All was well in my world. After tidying up the boat, spending time visiting with neighbors, and surveying the ocean views, the children and I walked to the car very excited to let the day unfold naturally and enjoy all that we thought would be in it. Perhaps we were thinking about a stroll on the beach, or a trip to the ice cream parlor, or swimming in the pool. We were happy to be in the moment. When we got to the car…well, this is what greeted us:

Okay, you know you want to say it…go ahead. Oh man *that* is a whole lot of sh't. No way around it. Right in the middle of a beautiful day, faced with lots and lots of poo. Now there are two distinctly different reactions. One: Great, just great this would happen to me, always happens to me, the Universe always dumps on me, forget it now we are not doing anything, I'm going to complain, sulk, whine, but that is it. Reaction two was mine: I laughed. Just looked and laughed. Because come on. How ridiculous, and quite frankly the Universe has an amazing sense of humor. Plus, I think I read somewhere that when a seagull poos on you it is good luck, so *this* well this must be extremely good luck! And I can certainly use that in life:)
My children looked to me for my reaction. By this time, I was belly laughing, so my children laughed. In a parking lot of pristine cars, now mine stood out like a sore thumb. I might be bold, but the *last* thing I want to be in life is "different" although that is probably the first label everyone gives to me. My motto is butterflies and glitter, and here is tons of "stuff". What I do with it tells you who I am…my question to you is, what would you do with it?
What do you do when life presents you with a ton of "stuff"?

When something just dumps on you?
How I dealt with the car is exactly how I deal with the 'stuff' of life.

  • I find the lesson in it I believe that everything happens for a reason, so when "stuff" happens, I try to find the lesson in it. Well, one, so I don't have to deal with it ever again, and two because if I find the lesson and take the time to learn it, I can move past it and forward to experience something much better. I've found that there is usually some kind of extraordinary fun to be experienced once I've incorporated the lesson from my "stuff".
  • I identify something about it to give praise for Sometimes it's hard to find the good in the midst of "stuff", but it is there for me to see. When I identify what the good is, I then give praise for it. Frankly, sometimes stuff is no fun at all, is something I'd rather have avoided my entire life than have had to experience, but –especially in hindsight– I am so glad to have experienced it because it helped me to become who I am and to be open and ready for magnificent when it happens. Sometimes, the Universe purposely dumps on me because that is how I learn best–throw me in the muck and watch me find some kind of joy in it. I greatly dislike muck, but I know there are treasures deep down so I do my best to dig and find them, and if I am to dig in muck then I figure I might as well find something fun about it. And I usually throw a party while dealing with it (not a "pity party" a real everyone have fun type of party).
  • I realize that everyone has stuff On this particular day, my stuff was clearly a lot, and quite visible.  There are many clean days, there are some days that I keep what I carry inside, there are some days I decorate my stuff, put a spin on it, whatever you'd like to call  it. The thing is we all have it–whether it's a little corner or a huge storage locker, each one of us has "stuff" that we carry. I'm not alone, even if I think I am.  Yes, there are most who have never had to deal with "my stuff", but there is also someone out there who has exactly the same stuff, just as there is someone out there that has more than I could even fathom.  We all have it.  
  • I find inspiration I find inspiration in lots of different places–nature, art, blogs, books, friends, stories….music is a huge one for me. Lately life has been full of random huge droppings of "stuff'", so my most recent theme song is one I hope you will find inspires you to mire through the muck:)

 A verse from India.Arie's "Strength, Courage, and Wisdom"

 "I close my eyes and I think

Of all the things that I heart I see'

Cause I know now that I've opened up my heartI know that anything I want can be

So, let it be… (wow, *that* could be an affirmation-let it be, let it be, let it be)

Strength, courage, and wisdom

It's been inside of me all along….." 

May I say one last thing? You might be thinking that dealing with sh't is so cumbersome, so yucky, that the obvious advice would be to avoid it completely. To stay inside, put up a shield, curb your interactions, never venture out. But, if you truly thought that, then you wouldn't be at Tess' blog learning how to step outside of yourself…

Thank you for sharing this time with me.

Much peace,


Joy has a new coaching program and if you ask me someone who knows how to take bird poop and turn it into laughter can tell you how to transform the poop in your life too;)

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    { 23 comments… read them below or add one }

    Jarrod @ Optimistic Journey May 10, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Hi Joy,

    Thank you for motivating me to step outside of my comfort zone and empower my inner strength and courage. I love that India Arie song and think it’s a great fit for this article.

    Thanks for sharing!!
    .-= Jarrod @ Optimistic Journey´s last post…Are You In Indifference Mode? =-.


    Jay Schryer May 10, 2010 at 8:41 am

    lol, this is great! Instead of the Tao of Pooh, we have the Tao of Poo! It’s (quite literally) the essence of the phrase “sh*t happens”. You can’t keep it from happening, but when it does, your reaction to it defines the kind of person you are. Like Joy, I prefer to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, and work my way through it. Thank you for a powerful lesson wrapped in such a great story!


    Lance May 10, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Hi Joy,
    So….I’ll just share what I did this weekend. My oldest son and I competed in a 4.5 mile mud run/obstacle course race. The end of that included crawling through the muck and mud (we were covered in mud…on a cool Wisconsin morning). Top that with a window at our house that has recently become the target of some birds in our neighborhood – and I can relate! Some of this was self-induced and some was just what life (and the birds!) through at us. And perhaps that’s how life is, too. Sometimes we step into the muck by our own doing – and sometimes life just hands us a bunch of that muck.

    What I take from all of this (and from what you have shared) is that no matter what life brings our way – we always have a choice. How will we choose to “be” during these moments of “muck”? And – I love the laughter. What a great way to move beyond what can at first appear to be “bad”….
    .-= Lance´s last post…Sunday Thought For The Day =-.


    [email protected] May 10, 2010 at 9:20 am

    This was great! It made me laugh and agree that we all get surprised by the sh*t that appears in our lives sometimes! How we deal with it is what’s important!


    Joy Tanksley May 10, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Great tips, Joy! I am teaching a series on gratitude right now, and I plan to share your tips at our next meeting. Thanks!
    .-= Joy Tanksley´s last post…Powerful Questions on Exercise =-.


    Joy May 10, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Oh how fun! We are back in grade school with poo as our topic of conversation…*and* on a Monday morning–I love it:)

    This song is one I use to motivate me, and it makes my heart sing. I feel I can do *anything*! And Jarrod, so can you, because I know you have Faith and lots of inner strength and courage!

    The Tao of pooh indeed:) Life is amazingly fun– so let’s take the poo and figure out how to incorporate/enjoy it….

    I love that you and your son shared this experience! I tend to want to enjoy “perfect” moments with my children, but lately I’ve realized why shouldn’t we jump in the muck together every once in a while. And here you are purposely doing it–my hero:) Isn’t life the perfect and imperfect moments, so shouldn’t we learn how to celebrate the imperfect together?
    We do have a choice, and I choose to embrace it all fully, while trying to have some fun along the way:)

    Joy T.,
    Thank you for stopping by! A series on gratitude sounds lovely….and if any of my tips help at all, then that makes it all worth it:) How to appreciate poo–LOL!

    Much peace,
    .-= Joy´s last post…Fearless Fun Friday…Guest Post from Joy Tanksley.. =-.


    Joy May 10, 2010 at 9:47 am

    If you can laugh on a Monday morning, then shoot my job here is done:) and if you can find a way to laugh at poo, then all is well indeed. We do have a choice, and I’m glad you choose to laugh along with me:)
    .-= Joy´s last post…Fearless Fun Friday…Guest Post from Joy Tanksley.. =-.


    Evita May 10, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Hi Joy and Tess :)

    Tess, Joy is such a wonderful addition to your site :)

    Joy, this was such a treat to read. My heart leapt when I read, “I listen intently because I know you have been placed in my life for a reason. “…

    … and the next few lines melted my heart. Wow – do you ever know how to make each and every person feel special. I truly felt like you were speaking to each reader separately – and I know you were. The presence and specialness that you exhibited in your words are so kind and loving! Thank you.

    As for your experience with the car – oh Joy, I laughed too as I read it, and I so agree with your approach – that is how I live too :) There are lessons in it all – in every little bit and I enjoy communicating with the universe through each and every one. It is fun and exciting when we stay open and flow with what is.

    So the way I see it, you are the luckiest for having such an AMAZING outlook – with or without the extra birdy gifts ;)

    (It was a pleasure to write this comment as I listened to the song – thanks!)
    .-= Evita´s last post…Unfolding Your Path To Joy In the Dark =-.


    Wilma Ham May 10, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Joy and Tess.
    It is a very good thing that your *poo* story propels us back into grade school. If I think right, is that the grade when we are still young and open and willing to take on different teachings? If so, thank you Joy for taking me back to that age with your delightful story, taking me back beyond my ego who will not let me see things another way.
    Yes, looking at things differently is so powerful, it can make and break our lives and until we get that, really get that, we need to be reminded over and over again.
    And we need to see rolemodels, we need to see that it really works too, so I love how we encourage each other to live differently. So Joy and Tess, I love how you live and I love how you share your lives with us. xox Wilma
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last post…Does the way you talk destruct or create? =-.


    Patricia May 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    We live on Puget Sound – I sure hope Seagull Pooh is a sign of good luck….though we try to clean it off quickly because it is so strong it takes the finish off the car! I keep wipe ups in the trunk so we can open the car door handles! and clean the windshield enough to get going…

    I have been mucked up with the fatigue of Adrenal Burnout and am trying to figure out how to laugh it off….or heal it… I just had to give up my list and go back to bed for another 4 hours of sleep after my walk….I feel like I am missing out on life – and the waves of depression/ sorrow/ worry/ and anxiety are so far from my positive outlook….I wonder if I save it up to express it all at once when everyone had left home?
    I enjoyed your post….I love living with voluntary simplicity at my foundation.

    Thank you Tess for the introduction
    .-= Patricia´s last post…Blessed with Sunshine =-.


    Jannie Funster May 10, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Joy!! Tess!!

    This is food for my soul. Thank you. I need a little reminder that the little bit of doo-doo in my life today is here to teach me and make me grow. Fertilizer! :) And perhaps bring me shining out the other side on better footing.

    How super to live on a sailboat! That must be FUN!! Do you actually travel in it, or just have it docked?

    Thanks you coupla sweeties!
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last post…Happy Mothers’ Day (a poem) =-.


    Joy May 10, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    The sole reason I wanted to keep my blog and my blog reading lists small is that I *do* want to know each and every reader/author personally. I believe we each have much to share, and in trying to remain as open as possible, I want to know you as you are. And I do. And I am inspired, encouraged, motivated by each and interaction–whether it is in blog land or in the real world. *You* do make a difference, and I want *you* to know that. *You* is whomever my focus is on.
    As for any story I share, it is my tendency to find the humor in it all. It is always there, I just need to be creative enough to find it:) There is love and laughter in every piece of life……

    Thank you! I think my personal viewfinder makes everything fresh and new to me, and I try to delight in it all. Plus, laughter is key–I think laughter shows your heart is open and ready…so laugh away:)
    As far as life–I thought I was bold; but Tess among others encourages me to be a bit bolder, step out a little farther, and I’m finding it is quite fun indeed.

    Oh my then you are absolutely lucky!!!! Yay:)
    There is a time for laughter, certainly, and a time for healing, sometimes it is the best to just rest. Allow whatever it is in your life to unfold naturally, feel it as it is, then later find the humor in it. You might have such a strong role in your family that you save your feelings until everyone leaves, but another perspective is to share it so that you may relate heart to heart and release a bit of the burden you are carrying. As Wilma says you don’t have to be superwoman, and I agree….enjo ythe benefits from your walk, rest, relax, and let it be….

    Fertilizer! yep, it sure is..I *love* that on so many levels. Thank you!
    I do live on the boat, do take it out–sailing is my passion, my essence, where I find God/Force/Mother Nature….my lifestyle allows me to revel in the glories of the beauty around me while living life in the “real world”. And on my blog this Wednesday, I will be sharing a slideshow of my Mother’s Day sail…it an is ultra fun, sometimes ultra challenging lifestyle, but one I am most blessed to experience:)

    Much peace,
    .-= Joy´s last post…Fearless Fun Friday…Guest Post from Joy Tanksley.. =-.


    Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord May 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    My GAWD! That was a LOT of POOP! I scanned the photo before I read the post, and thought, “Someone egg’d Joy’s car! Who would do that?!” Then when I read and realized it was poop, I thought, “What seagulls would poo that much on Joy’s tiny car?!!”

    I’m so glad you laughed about it, and I could actually “see” what you must have looked like in the parking lot, as your children looked on and learned from you.

    You teach me all the time about who I am, and who I am not. (I mean that in a good way!) You show me beauty and love I didn’t realize I had, and then teach me how to access it. And all of that is just by continuing to do your earthwalk EXACTLY how you do it. The “Joy” way. Your way. My way. The “one” way.

    I love it, and I love you — thank you, my friend!

    Tess – AWESOME guest. Very bold, and very full of LIFE!


    Cheryl Paris May 11, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Hell Joy,

    Reading the article I felt that you are extremely warm, bold and go for it gal. I love your sentence ” I stand in faith, I lead with my heart, I embrace exuberantly, I take risks, I make choices that soothe my soul but may seem unconventional to you.” This is what makes one live life longer, fullest and does not allow you to be existing.

    .-= Cheryl Paris´s last post…Top 10 Inspirational Sayings You Need To Know =-.


    Mark May 11, 2010 at 6:23 am

    This is an excellent article. True, how we react to the poo that sometimes is dumped upon us tells us much about our self. Let it be is truly a wonderful way to be. I would have been right there with you laughing. As you said, you had no expectations of the day and this was truly unexpected. Thanks for sharing your story and the way you chose to handle the moment.
    .-= Mark´s last post…The Slippery Slope of Doubt =-.


    suzen May 11, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Hi Joy! This was delightful! The God of Poop has blessed me with a LOT of it and I’m greatful for that really because it taught me from early on, how to clean it up and not get all hysterical. Your photo reminded me of the time in Panama City Florida we drove to the beach in our converible and got blasted as we were driving! You cannot use your windshield washers either! What a mess! Gotta love birds!
    Nice to “meet you” here!
    .-= suzen´s last post…Pampering – A Commandment in the Works! =-.


    Joy May 11, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    We are reflections– so right back at you friend! We all have this well of joy, beauty, love, laughter…and I think it best when it is shared:) I have to laugh at all that life brings, because it truly is amazing and fun!

    Thank you! There are some days of existing, but most are so full of Life….I fully appreciate the moments I am given, and think the world around me is such a magnificent playground, why not play???

    I am glad you are laughing with me..laughter is best enjoyed when shared…and so is washing the car:)
    I think sometimes we tend to forget that life delights and dumps on us all; the difference is how we choose to treat the surprises we are given. Each morning, I do try to set intentions, and release expectations..hopefully making room to embrace all in the day quite fully.

    Much peace,
    .-= Joy´s last post…Monday Blessing: Dark…a Guest Post from Evita…. =-.


    Peggy May 12, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Hi Joy!

    I love it…the story of poop…haha…when the stuff piles up on me and I know I’m standing in the middle of doo-doo, I look for the pony. Because if there’s that much $hit around me, there must be a pony somewhere!!

    Fabulous to see you on Tess’ blog and I just love how we’re both *really* becoming miracle workers!!

    .-= Peggy´s last post…When Hit With Negative…Counter With Positive =-.


    Hilary May 12, 2010 at 4:57 am

    Hi Tess – good to see Joy here .. and now I’ve subscribed to her blog.

    Joy – I love what you say about shyness .. so many of us hide behind our shyness and don’t come out .. I then heard that actually it’s a form of selfishness … which is perhaps not the right description .. but in a way is .. because what you’re saying is: “I step beyond my shyness to get to know you” and the rest of that paragraph … that is such an amazing set of words …… I would love so many more people to look at life like this .. to want to understand the other person ..

    What you say is” a light” .. a beacon – thank you …

    Laugh .. yes – I have “it” all over my windows and my car .. comes of living by the seaside .. amazing what colour comes out too – at blackberry time .. it’s purple!! If you’d avoided ‘stuff’ .. you wouldn’t be here with us now .. that’s the way I look at where I am .. I wouldn’t be here & I wouldn’t miss that experience for the world .. facing my fears, but being here with you all .. a wonderful life.

    Brilliant post Joy – and great to know about your new site .. enjoy the sea and the ‘yuck’ that comes down sporadically and indeterminately .. it can be cleaned away .. really good to see you both – Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last post…Shambles, Pawn Brokers, Hay Market, & Portobello .. evolving street names … =-.


    Joy May 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Glad to see you here as well! Yep, dealing with poo is exactly the challenge I thought I’d have when I had children, and look it’s the boat that teaches me as much!!! And I love that—now you have me looking for ponies:)

    Glad to see you again!
    Thank you for your comment. I appreciate each and every person, exactly as they are, and I find during some interactions people are not used to that. I am joy filled and I love when that touches others.
    And Hilary, I love blackberry time–I am absolutely addicted to blackberries, so I ‘d brave the poo to get to them:) Kind of how I do in life, I brave the poo to get where I’d like to go….

    Much peace,
    .-= Joy´s last post…Monday Blessing: Dark…a Guest Post from Evita…. =-.


    Tony Single May 12, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Joy, I can already tell that I’m going to like you. Why? This line alone:

    “Right in the middle of a beautiful day, faced with lots and lots of poo.”

    Not many things make me laugh out loud. This did. It feels good to laugh, doesn’t it. :)

    Of course, you do realise that I’m compelled to check out your blog now! :P
    .-= Tony Single´s last post…Before =-.


    Joy May 13, 2010 at 4:57 am

    I specialize in laughter, so I’m glad I got a laugh:)
    My blog is one to make you think, kind of change your perspective of things…you may feel many different kinds of emotions as you read through…so, by all means come visit…
    Much peace,
    .-= Joy´s last post…Monday Blessing: Dark…a Guest Post from Evita…. =-.


    Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice May 14, 2010 at 7:32 am

    India Arie Rocks…Have you heard ‘I am not my hair’ or ‘wings of forigivness’ ?

    Some awesome answers there Joy and very insightful. Like the example of the car, it’s a bit like something that happened to me not so long ago!

    Great interview!
    .-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last post…2 Comedy Night Tickets To Give Away =-.


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