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June 4, 2019
The Joy Continues
Mark Tomascewicz

A little over a week out from the Gathering of Joy and I’m still feeling the effects. And, I will for quite some time.

The experience was a lot of things to me, but the things that resonated the most were the people and the pillars.

Be an Invitation

How great would the world be if we offered everyone a smile and an invitation to connect as we did during the Gathering. Yes, life moves at a pace quicker than it should be, something the Ranch experience strips away as you step on the property. Yet, it doesn’t take much to let some feel seen as we travel this world together.

I have been sharing with people in my life – friends and strangers alike - the two biggest lessons for me from our exploration of Joy. The first is the quote by David Steindl-Rast:

Joy is the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.

...which I closely follow with the learning that…

joy is most often found when we are working in service of others.

A conscious few moments to acknowledge others, listen to others and share with others is perhaps the greatest path to joy.

Operating Manual for Life

They all make sense and importantly they all work. The Pillars of Joy are a roadmap for cultivating a joyful spirit and joyful life. And, I have called on each in the past week to remind me of what matters most and choose actions and reaction accordingly – though it I can’t say I haven’t missed some signals!

Perhaps the biggest shift has come from one of the Pillars I believed I was most attuned to, Gratitude. It struck me a few mornings ago that while I frequently express gratitude for moments – with my family, out on a trail run, for the experiences in my life – I don’t often express gratitude for the connection among them. I should appreciate it all, as one funny, messy, beautiful and challenging life. (Not to mention that I’m privileged just by being able to think, explore and write about things like Joy!)

How wonderful that I have the opportunity to breathe, connect, laugh, cry and drink good beer.

Thank you.

On Friday, Frank, implored Jack and I to receive the meaningful gifts of thoughts and gratitude shared by all in the circle. We did, Frank. We were filled up and continue to be.

With gratitude,


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