Many believe that the road to joy is an easy one. Just be happy, try hard enough, look for the silver lining, and you will find joy. But what if joy is not the starting place? What if joy is the basecamp one gets to after hard work, struggle, long nights, and overcoming fear? What if joy, true joy, can only be found at the end of ourselves when we have face what is within and come out the other side more honest and stripped bare?
What if the road to joy goes through the Mines of Moria? Dark. cold, uninviting, and full of things we would rather leave undisturbed?
Some would say: don’t make the road to joy so uninviting! But the thing is, without the hard work to truly get to joy one is only chasing an illusion. Joy in the midst of any circumstance is a joy found in being fully alive and that only comes when we have journeyed and done the hard work, shedding what holds us back.
Dr. Kevin McClone provides a roadmap for such a journey. The Road to Joy provides eight key guideposts along the way that slowly move us from the superficial to the fully alive. McClone manages to integrate various religious and spiritual points of view. But be warned, the road to joy is not for the faint of heart! There are no shortcuts here.
The Road to Joy is the happy medium between a self-help book that never gets below the surface to the hard work, and what can feel clinical and unattainable. McClone approaches the guideposts from a pragmatic perspective, taking away the fanciful fluff that too many self helps books rely on. Instead he looks at why the hard work in necessary (and universal) while providing very tangible ways to get started.
#1 Follow Your Deepest Desire: Discover Your Calling
#2 Discovering the True Self
#3 Embracing Healthy Intimacy: Growing in Love of Self, Others, and God
#4 Integrity: Becoming One Whole Person
#5 Grace Comes through the Wound: Embracing Vulnerability and Imperfection
#6 Simplify, Simplify
#7 Embrace Solitude
#8 Joy: Coming Home to Fullness of Life
McClone has worked as a chaplain and an addictions counselor, and has walked the path of recovery himself. McClone wrote the book in the wake of his wife’s death and that vulnerability and the stirrings it has awakened are written about with truth and care. McClone is someone who knows clinically what one “needs” to do and yet manages to move all of that knowledge into his heart and bring us a book that calls us to more.
The book is compact (only 115 pages) and yet McClone does a great job at providing other resources and ideas people can research and grab hold of. This book packs a punch – no space is wasted. While to some it could come off as too theoretical, I appreciated it because it spoke to me as someone who struggles to move head knowledge to my heart. It was the perfect mix of tangibles and realizing the journey to joy requires all of who we are.
In his way, McClone manages to be vulnerable, helpful, and real. It is obvious he knows these eight pathways and has experienced the cyclical nature of the journey to being fully present, alive, and engaged with others – the core of joy. McClone is a man who looked to these truths while in his grief and came to realize that what carries us in the best of times can be a beacon of life in the darkest moments.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received The Road to Joy free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.
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