What brings you joy in life? Today I bring you three short stories of joy: The White Rose, The Snowdrop and The Orchid. The White Rose 11 years ago I planted a small white rose in my garden and it has flourished. It now flowers all year round bringing me so much joy. One year a single flower bloomed on Christmas Day and it was the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received. Why is the white rose so important to me? It’s because it transports me right back to my childhood to special joyful moments of simplicity. To when I used to sit on my doorstep as a five year old and gaze up at the beautiful white roses which framed my front door and watch the bees move effortlessly from rose to rose. To when I was an eight year old surrounded by books sitting on a rug in my garden reading Beauty and the Beast for the first time. I can picture it so clearly. The story was beautiful. When asked what gift Beauty would like on her father’s return from business, Beauty replied, ‘a white rose, please, father’. From that moment whenever asked what gift I would like to receive I have made the same request; a white rose, please. Every time I celebrate a special occasion, I choose white roses. In my wedding bouquet. In my renewal of wedding vows bouquet. The buttonhole flowers for both occasions and my centrepiece gift for my 40th Birthday were all white roses. For me Beauty and the Beast is more than a fairy tale though. It represents my story in life. A story of love, honesty, nature and joy. For me, the white rose symbolises joy, love, gratitude, knowledge and understanding. The Snowdrop Every winter I see hope and joy in the form of snowdrops and it makes me feel warm and uplifted! There is something magical about snowdrops and I believe there is a reason why they surface at this particular time of the year when the days are shorter, wet and cold. They bring joy to a stark landscape. Seeing a blanket of snowdrops on the verge with their simple elegance of their pure white flower petals, I wanted to show my gratitude and joy for them so I wrote this. Dear Snowdrop Seeing your delicate, drooping head lifts my heart. I can’t help but smile and feel an inner warmth knowing that once again Spring is on its way. Seemingly impervious to the bitter wind and the icy rain, you stand proud knowing your purpose protecting your pollen from the elements for the winter insects. You may be small and understated however seeing you on my daily walk fills me with deep joy and hope so I just wanted to say thank you! The Orchid In late 2014, I sat on the train weary from a busy day at work with a sorry dead-looking plant on my lap. I got funny glances from other commuters but I smiled knowing that I would nurture this brown stick back to its full glory. It just needed time. I had rescued an orchid from the office bin as it had been thrown away after it had stopped flowering, after it had stopped being beautiful, after it no longer brought joy to the room. I couldn’t bear to think that its beauty would be lost in the depths of landfill forever. Placing it on my kitchen windowsill, I added a small amount of water and just left it to work its own magic. I watched the brown stick become green once more. It has flowered beautifully ever since. It lives on and has flourished bringing me joy every day. Don’t give up on nature. Nature teaches us hope, patience and perseverance. Nature teaches us joy. Nurture nature. “We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” Joseph Campbell Joy is our inner guidance system to living on purpose. If you are not feeling joy, you are likely to be off track and living off purpose. Look for the simple ways that you can bring more joy to your everyday life. A walk in amongst nature usually works wonders for me just listening to the beautiful birdsong and seeing the spring flowers budding. Now it is the turn of the magnificent magnolia which brings me so much joy and lifts my spirits. Find joy in your journey in life. Choose to live with joy. Focus on Joy! ACTION POINT How about you? What brings you joy in life? Looking back through your life, when have you experienced the most joy? Make a list. Write down whatever comes to you. Notice what you were doing, where you were and who you were with. Looking at your list, are there any common elements or themes to the times when you felt the most joy?