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