August 17, 2014

day 23 journey with joy ~ places...


It's been a gray day here, with a thunder storm rolling through earlier bringing lots of rain and thunder and lightning. For a few different reasons, it's been hard today for me to make a connection to joy.

Hard to feel the joy.

(even if I know it's there, inside)

On days like this it helps me if I can think of anything - and any place - where I've felt joy.

For me, the beach holds many, many joyful memories and feelings.


At times when you have a hard time connecting with joy, thinking of a place you love might help.





August 7, 2014

day 14 journey with joy ~ taking a break


Sometimes connecting with joy means taking a break and getting more rest. 'Cause if we're exhausted - physically or emotionally - it can sort of block the channel to joy.

(I'm not talking about feeling physically exhausted in that 'good' sort of way, like when you've had a wonderful day doing something that lights you on fire or has been full of fun or good times with loved ones... I'm talking about the not-so-good kind of being physically exhausted.)

Self-care can help with connecting to joy.

And sometimes self-care is getting more rest.







August 6, 2014

day 12 journey with joy ~ hanging out...


Today... partly cloudy outside, hot but not blazing. It was very very late when I finally went to sleep last night but I was able to sleep late this morning - which gave me a really late start to my day, but that's okay because today is a day when I only had a few things planned. And today is a day when I wanted to mostly be in that take-it-easy space.

(fortunately, my schedule allowed for it too)

My husband had an unexpected change at work - nothing bad - and around mid-day he called to tell me he was coming home a few hours early.

Suddenly the afternoon felt sort of like a play day. Or a surprise vacation day.

On his way home, he stopped at a local Tex-Mex restaurant, got my favorite meal, and brought it to me for lunch.

We ate in front of the tv and watched a show we always enjoy watching together.

We've just been watching tv and hanging out.


I realize some people would say watching tv isn't a great way to spend a free afternoon... but I say it's our life, our free time, and there are shows we enjoy. I'm not going to pretend I don't like tv and movies. Entertainment in front of the tube has its purpose.

This was a simple way to spend an afternoon. A relaxing way.

But it felt - it has been - an afternoon of joy.





August 3, 2014

day 9 journey with joy ~ painting, listening...


It's been a low-intensity day. (I'm still dealing with sinus issues, and self-care mode is very much activated.) I've been catching up on listening to some online recordings and watching some online videos. There's so much good stuff. But sometimes I feel overwhelmed because I simply can't keep up with all of it.

I have to choose and prioritize. I have to let some things go, and be okay with the releasing.

It's interesting for me to realize how so many of the audios and videos talk about similar themes. There's a lot of inter-connectedness and overlapping, and it's fascinating to see synchronicity at work this way.

(because I feel like I'm hearing these things, from so many different people and places, for a reason)

So I'm listening.

Listening for the messages, for what I'm meant to learn from all of this.

It feels important.

I've also been painting today.

And again, I listen.

I stand there and I listen to some inner voice (or maybe it's an outer voice which feels internal) tell me what color to use and where to put it and what to do with it.

Sometimes when I paint, emotions come to the surface, moving through me, to be released.

Today I just felt calm.

Peaceful.

And painting - and the sense of inner peace - definitely joyful, both of them.

Sometimes it feels really good to simply feel calm and peace.

The inner peace and calm - the inner quiet - make it easier for me to listen.





August 2, 2014

day 8 journey with joy ~ kitty love...


Saturday. Cloudy and hot. I slept for a full 8 hours last night... much needed sleep - rejuvenating, nourishing, healing.

It's been a day of relaxing.

Just relaxing, relaxing, relaxing.

Taking it easy. Watching a tv marathon with my husband.

Enjoying the company of our sweet kitty.

Letting the ick and the dense emotions of the week drain away.

Contentment.

Joy in the moment.







August 1, 2014

day 7 journey with joy ~ cycles and supplies...


I didn't get much sleep last night... although I got more than night before last, when bothersome thoughts kept roaming through my mind and kept me awake until the time many people were getting up for the day. When I woke up this morning, I was grateful for the sleep I did get.

And I was still feeling emotionally raw from the past couple of days.

Old stuff - stuff I've already dealt with on many levels - resurfaced for another go-round of healing at a new and deeper level. Things I thought I'd energetically cleared showed up and said nope we're still here, you haven't totally finished the work of releasing.

Some very important questions around believing and trusting and relationships and emotions and what's real and what's not.

I spent part of the morning doing some processing around what's happened the past couple of days. I did some of the healing work which needs to be done.

This is a process.

This is stuff that's a lifetime old (and possibly even older).

I'm being kind to myself about the fact more healing still needs to be done. I know how these things - and the healing journey itself - can go in cycles, or be like a spiral.

To expect only forward momentum - or for a 'good place' to remain always good, always static - isn't realistic.

Life doesn't usually work like that.

There's light.

And there's shadow.

There are ups.

And there are downs.

There are cycles. There's the spiral of life. Our emotional and healing journeys aren't linear.

After some time spent on processing and healing (work which isn't over, it'll continue), my husband and I headed on a drive in the beautiful sunshine and visited a craft store where I spent time joyfully - yes, definitely joyfully! - exploring the aisles and gathering some supplies.

I was low on a few shades of blue, so I bought new tubes.

I stocked up on more large canvases as well as canvas panels.

And I bought a new sketchbook. (Can I just say how much I love sketchpads and notebooks and journals?!)


And when we got home I spent some time playing with paint.

I still feel a little bit like I'm in an emotional-recovery space, feeling the need to be gentle with myself, feeling the need to do a lot of self-care.

At the same time, I've definitely felt the connection to joy today.

The time of working on processing and healing, driving in the sunshine, walking through the parking lot holding hands with my husband, shopping the aisles for painting supplies, a cold drink on a hot day, standing in front of my easel while I painted...

Joy.





July 31, 2014

day 6 journey with joy...


I'll be honest - today has not felt like a joyful or joy-filled day. So the way I'm connecting with joy?

Self-care.

A nice relaxing shower. Aromatherapy. Some comforting crystals.

And rest.

Somewhere in there, in the comfort, in the care, I believe I'll feel at least some connection to joy.

Even if it's as simple as laughing at something on tv.

Or feeling even a few minutes of contentment and relaxation.

Feeling even a few minutes of release from the emotional tension and upheaval of the day.

Sometimes a day like this is... a day like this.

I'm trying to connect with some joy anyway.





July 30, 2014

day 5 journey with joy...


Fresh air... cooler than usual for July, given where I live. It's not cool or chilly outside, but it's not uncomfortably hot. The temperature is pleasant and the humidity isn't bad.

There's a nice breeze.

There's blue sky and sunshine.

Having time outside with Mama Earth on a lovely day like today...

Joy.




July 29, 2014

day 4 journey with joy...


The first several hours of this day went well. A talk with a good friend, with progress made on some work-related decisions.

Gorgeous weather outside, blue skies, sunshine, a breeze, and temperatures moderate enough for me to open the windows and patio door instead of having the air conditioner on. It feels wonderful outside.

But this afternoon, as I started thinking about some things I need to do, and other things I'm trying to get clarity about, I started to feel the stress rise.

I spent some time outside.

And then I spent some time in front of the easel.

I got out the canvas I started the other day (replacing the current one on the easel - I often paint on more than one project at a time).

Using more blues, and using more water, I stood there and let myself get lost in the flow of the paint on the canvas.

Letting my brush flow, letting the water flow, letting myself simply do swirls and curves and drips and drops.

Not worrying about the end result.

Only painting. Enjoying the doing of it.

Connecting - again - to joy.




July 28, 2014

day 3 journey with joy...


One of my challenges this summer has been physical. For many weeks I've been dealing with sinus issues leaving me feeling yuck, plugged-up, stuffed-up, headache-y, and also triggering times of vertigo (an off-and-on thing for several years when I've had sinus problems). I'll be the first to admit I don't handle physical problems as well as I should.

When I don't feel well physically, it can impact my mood. And it can try my patience.

I've had days of feeling frustrated this summer... frustrated about feeling so bad, frustrated about not being able to take nightly walks with my husband, frustrated about not being able to do all the things I'd hoped to do.

Also frustrated because for so many months this year I was physically dealing with the effects of my fall in January. Actually, the physical impacts are still with me to an extent, but for several months I was severely limited with what my right hand could do (and I'm right-handed, so it was a challenge!). And then came the sinus problems and the sometimes-vertigo.

My decision to consciously connect more with joy - to do, as much as possible, only things which truly light me up inside - well, I made that decision before all the sinus stuff flared up this summer.

But the health challenges led me to re-commit to it.

Feeling bad physically is a big part of what led to my decision to do this personal blog challenge.

In the past couple of months or so, I've noticed something important.

I'm becoming more aware of joy.

I'm becoming more conscious of when it's present, even as a very underlying feeling, even when I'm not otherwise feeling well or even feeling happy about what's happening.

I find myself checking in at night: Did I connect with joy today?

Did I do something to make my heart sing?

Did I do something that made me feel alive?

If I needed extra self-care, something to help me feel a sense of ahhhh inside, a sense of more spaciousness and ease... did I do it?

In the mornings, I find myself asking: How can I connect with joy today?

Sometimes I know the answer right away. Sometimes I don't.

(and I really don't believe joy is something we can chase... that's not what I'm talking about here)

I'm talking about being more aware.

Because you want to know a secret?

Sometimes I've been surprised to realize I don't feel joyful - surprised by this especially when doing something I love, or thought I did, or at least I used to love.

(which has led to some soul-searching about those things...)

But also?

Sometimes I've been surprised to find, even in the midst of feeling otherwise lousy, even when I didn't realize I felt joy, I am connected to joy after all.

And when that happens, it can shift my attitude in an instant.

Awareness - and joy - can be magic like that.






July 26, 2014

day 1 journey with joy...


As I wrote in my last post, I'm going to be blogging about joy for a while. Sharing something every day about my own personal journey to connect more deeply with joy.

I'm starting this daily blogging about journey today on the new moon... a time of setting intentions, a time of starting something new. I plan to post every day for a complete moon cycle - maybe not always writing, there may be days where I post only a photograph or picture quote.

But something - every day until the next new moon - that helps me stay connected to joy.

Playing with paint has become a major joy-activating activity for me.

I paint intuitively, not worrying about what the outcome will be, not planning in advance.

I play.

And I connect with joy.

This is the canvas on my table easel right now.


The only thing I knew when I started - the only thing I know now - is I wanted to paint something connected to water, to flow.

I've been playing with a few shades of blue and green acrylics, and adding water itself in some places to thin and spread and drip.

This is only the start, what I did for a little while as I stood in front of the canvas and simply let myself play.

And feel free.

And feel the joy.

I have no idea what this canvas will look like when it's finished.

The important thing for me is the process... the play... the enjoyment...

The joy of  doing it.

Do you let yourself simply play and do things just because you enjoy them, letting go of worrying what others think or what the outcome might be?

Just for the joy of doing it?

I hope so... I truly believe it's good for the soul.





July 20, 2014

about joy and blogging...


A lot of difficult things have happened in my life the past year and a half. Hard stuff happened before then, of course, some really hard stuff - but the past year and half has been one thing after another with family situations, death, release, loss, grief, health challenges, and more.

During 2013, it seemed like the most difficult year of my life so far. (I still feel that way.)

And 2014 has been very challenging too.

As a way to connect more to joy, earlier this year I decided to paint at least a little bit every day as part of  a goal for myself during a class I took. I didn't always do it every single day, and I still don't, but it got me into a regular practice of painting.

Painting helps me process and release emotions.

And - painting brings me joy.

That's why I wanted to bring painting into my life more regularly. With all the shadow I'd been experiencing, I wanted to bring in more light, more joy.

Somewhere around the end of May, I decided to - as much as possible - focus on only those things which really light me up inside and connect me to joy. I'll admit it hasn't all been rainbows and sunbeams... in the weeks since then, a dearly loved family member received a very bad medical diagnosis, there have been challenges in our household regarding repairs and finances, and for much of the summer I've been dealing with a health situation.

There has been joy. There have also been times that felt far from joyful or joy-filled.

(and to be clear, I do believe there's a difference in happiness and joy)

When the joy is there, when I really feel it, I know in my bones I want more of this.

I want a deeper, and more consistent, relationship with joy.

I'm committed even more to strengthening that relationship, and I believe it's something which can be strengthened.

As part of this commitment to bringing more joy into my life, connecting more with joy, and deepening my relationship with joy, I've decided to show up on my blog every day - starting at the next new moon, later this week - and posting something about my relationship with joy.

Every day for a complete moon cycle.

Some days I'll write a post where I share how things are going with me and joy.

Some days I might not write much of anything but I'll post a painting I'm working on, a photo I've taken, or a piece of jewelry or something else I make (because I strongly believe the creative process can connect us with our joy).

Whatever it is, I'm going to share something about joy every day here on the blog as the moon starts new, waxes to full, and wanes to new again.

I'm saying it in this post now as a public commitment to do this, a way to hold myself accountable.

It's my moon journey with joy.

I'd been thinking I would start August 1, but this weekend I decided to start on the new moon instead - just as another way, small as it might be, to also deepen my connection to the cycles of the moon.

I'm committing to a post each day about joy, starting on the new moon.


me on a day of joy with one of my paintings



June 18, 2014

arting it out...


Life has been full of emotions lately. Upsetting news about the health of family members. New layers of grief over my father's death and the changes with my mother's situation. The intense astrological energies bringing up 'stuff' that needs to be cleared and released.

Last year, intuitive painting helped me get through difficult days of dealing with what was happening with my parents.

But after I fell and badly injured my hand in January,  for quite a long time I couldn't hold a pen, pencil, paintbrush, or anything requiring me to curve my fingers and grip. When I started painting again, I held the paintbrush in my left hand at first - which was awkward but also accessed something new, a different place, inside of me.

Or sometimes I painted with my fingers (which I like to do anyway!).

I'm back to being able to use my right hand again. And thanks to taking the Journey of Yes with Stephanie Gagos earlier this spring and declaring my YES to be painting at least a little bit every day (and I did it almost every day) - and then continuing on to take an online painting class with Dirty Footprints Studio - I'm painting regularly these days.

And all those emotions from the life stuff that's been happening...

I'm arting it out.


Painting isn't the only thing I'm doing in my healing and processing and dealing with all that's changed and is changing.

But it's an important thing.

Hugely important and helpful for me.

The grief...

The confusion...

The anger...


The sadness...

The surrender...

I've been arting it out.

I come to the easel with my paints, my brushes, my hands...and I let the paint go where I'm intuitively guided, let the paint flow without caring what the end result looks like.

Because the main thing for me is the connection to creativity, the play with the paint, the arting it out.

Sometimes there is dancing.

Sometimes there are tears.

There's release, there's expressing, there's losing myself to the doing and the moment.

And there's a renewed sense of joy, overall, in my life.

Creativity is good for the soul.

Creativity can help release emotions - clearing them, cleansing you.

Creativity can help keep the hard from keeping you stuck in the muck.

Creativity is healing.




May 30, 2014

trusting it will be provided...


I'm diving deeply into self-care right now. Because I'm not feeling my best physically.

Because my emotions are being stirred.

Clearing is happening - in my physical space as we declutter, toss, rearrange, reorganize.

And clearing energetically and emotionally.

Where will it all lead?

To deeper healing... that's my hope, and my belief.

But the path to healing isn't always a smooth or pleasant one.

I'm holding onto trust.

Trusting that all I need will be provided.

And I'm doing a deep-dive into self-care for nourishment, rest, rejuvenation.

Self-care helps in healing.

Self-care helps in trusting.

Self-care helps in getting through to lighter times.


Trust even if you can't see what's ahead.

Trust even if you don't know.

Trust that what you need will be provided.


March 6, 2014

breathing...


My injured right hand (from a fall in January) is still slowly healing. This injury has slowed me down. I was feeling the urge to write more, here and in my journal and on a book project and on my facebook page, but I'm having to be mindful of how much I type (or write by hand). So I've had to go at a slow pace with that,

Painting, cleaning the house, even getting dressed and ready to go out somewhere - all take longer than usual because I can't fully use my right hand yet, the hand I most often rely on.

And then there's the overall body aching I went through from the hard landing on the hard floor,

And then there's the emotional adjustment to the changes in my family, and the grief.

The bottom line?

I've needed to take more time for physical and emotional rest.

Simply resting.

Simply being.

And sometimes... simply breathing.

Because in the stress and aches and emotions, I can sometimes find myself not really breathing. Well, not breathing fully.

Taking shallow breaths. Or even holding my breath a bit, without even realizing it.

So I'm trying to go back to the basics, back to remembering something I know helps so much.

Being aware of my breath.

Taking time to really breathe.

Full inhale.

Full exhale.

Breath shifts energy.

Breath shifts emotions.

Breath is life.