Joy is in front of us; if we look. You don’t need to search for joy. That feeling of well-being or good fortune doesn’t elude you if you choose to open your eyes.

“Find ecstasy in life: the mere sense of living is joy enough.”

—Emily Dickinson

Trista Ainsworth challenged readers to identify three things they have discovered during this lockdown and pandemic. Trista rediscovered three joys that she had put aside. Life and work had squeezed them out of her life.

1. Writing

2. Connecting with the Earth

3. Calligraphy

KeepingitrealwithAnnick responded to Trista’s challenge and shared three activities that brought her joy and peace:

1. Praying and meditating

2. Spending time with my son and talking more to my family

3. Spending time in nature while listening to music and dancing

Where have all the people gone?

Well before the current lockdown, I had started simplifying my life. Focusing on those things that brought me the greatest joy. The redirection started with refocusing much of my consulting work on coaching and writing.

For several months, I poured over books, my notes, and reflected on me. Yes, I stopped for a little self-care and looked deeply into my why. Then, I identified the actions—what would bring my purpose to the world—or a small tribe.

As 2020 unfolded, I began taking small steps to stretch out of my cocoon and spread my writing wings. Day by day, I wrote small passages and thought meanderings. A blog post here and there, weekly letters to my niece. Using my writing muscles to strengthen those wings.

Each day brought distractions. I would succumb to following an invisible voice that lured me away from the one thing I made a commitment to do. In mid-March, the world stopped.

No lunches with my dearest friend. I had recently learned to play MahJongg – not very well, but I enjoyed playing with my friend and making new ones. We couldn’t go to band concerts or dance showcases for our grandchildren.

With all the people I love the most also staying home, I could feel my joy begin to drain out of me. One day I thought, “Wait. This is not you. You don’t muck around in fear or ever obsess over a half-empty glass.”

Joy in the Wilderness

Myself and I had to embark on some serious attitude adjustments. You have faced tragedy, loss, and some other scary stuff. You are still standing here. Now go find your groove.

Joy never left. I had closed my eyes. When I chose to peer past the haze, I saw this.


A man who has loved me more than I could ever imagine. We have trudged through uncertainty. Rebuilt our finances. Discovered a deeper friendship. Every day we laugh, hug, and sit quietly under the conversation tree on a sturdy wooden swing.


Three strong-willed and loving children grew into phenomenal adults. They each bring a unique voice and don’t hesitate to share it with each other. Our goal as parents was to give them the support they needed to grow into compassionate, empathetic, and generous individuals. They amaze us with their integrity and constant desire to be and become their best.

Our daughter married a wonderful man and they gave us the two brightest lights in our life. What more can a grandmother say?


Me. I accept myself as a perpetual work in progress. And that’s how I plan to live until the end. Alive and enjoying this “one precious life.” I discovered the immense joy of words on paper. Even better, knowing that those words could inspire, encourage, and give hope.

Along the way in the wilderness of this current time, I found a community of writers. A tribe of soul-searchers and travelers who generously and gently push me forward.

Writing clears the path. My eyes wide open to endless possibilities with joy and gratitude

“The healthiest response to life is joy.”
—Mark Twain

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

Photo: © Kathryn LeRoy