Joy comes from spending time with my sister and sharing juicy information. Here is a combination of both to raise your Joy Factor.
A college professor in the mid 1970s had asked his grandfather to speak of the most significant invention during his lifetime. Not the automobile, electricity, or space travel: he was most impressed by screened windows. They let in the breeze and kept out the flies, chickens and stray cats.
My mother, born in 1923, adored paper products, especially napkins and tissues. “Do you realize what a relief it is not to have to wash and iron snotty handkerchiefs?”
The little things, it seems, made the real difference.
New Year’s Eve of 1999 found me in Alabama with a friend. His grandmother, at 103, was in a nursing home, and the only person I knew with a foot in three centuries. Champagne and fine scotch, an elegant dinner and fireworks galore paled at this momentous landmark. Gram was ailing and failing, unable to string thoughts together, but still, she was 103.
Both days when we visited Gram, a crone rested in a wheelchair in the hall nearby: Mrs. Whitton. While most of the residents wore housecoats and slippers, she had on stockings and sensible brown shoes, a khaki polyester skirt and a beige and white flowered button-up blouse. Gray-blonde hair teased and sprayed, surely done each week in the beauty shop downstairs. Her eyes were dull and flat; but she wore lipstick. Bright red-orange lipstick. ALL over her mouth. And cheeks.
Lipstick by Picasso!
I almost laughed, but my Higher Self whopped me on back of the head. I began to rummage in my bag for a tissue, thinking to ask if I could help her wipe it off and put in on right.
A bigger psychic whop. I stopped and took a breath.
It was already on “right.”
Mrs. Whitton stared back at me blankly, but with a huge, glorious toothy smile, which the lipstick took — literally, from ear to ear.
My design school professor had been right: more than 20 years later, I felt the depth of his teaching. If I’m ever in Mrs. Whitton’s seat, wearing too much beige and a hairstyle 30 years out-of-date, with rare neuro-connections, I pray I remember the joy of a good lipstick.
Clean Out the Clutter, the first of the five steps in the “CRAVE Your Goals!” formula, always gets the strongest response from audience members and clients. It’s also the one practice that produces the fastest results.
Most people understand physical clutter, like a messy workspace or overflowing closet, and technical clutter, like an over-reliance on your cell phone or too much time on the Internet.
However, emotional clutter is often more insidious and difficult to detect. It’s the regrets, resentments and things you haven’t forgiven about someone else or perhaps yourself. Just like physical and technical clutter, this emotional clutter can distract, confuse and exhaust you. Give yourself a belated gift this Valentine’s Day and release emotional clutter so you will have the time and energy to focus on what’s most important. Here are three more areas to consider:
- Unnecessary Obligations. Assess all your ongoing commitments–from networking groups to committees–and resign from those that are non-essential and no longer serve you.
- Unfinished Business. Review the section of your to-do list that never seems to get checked off and decide if you can release or delegate it.
- Toxic People. Negative people drain your energy and waste your precious time. If you can (so-called friends and neighbors), end the relationship and, if you can’t (family and coworkers), set up healthy boundaries and limit your interactions. “Being there for them” only enables them to continue this behavior.
Did I strike a chord?
Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on
This week, life has offered me a few lemons. What do you do with lemons? You can taste their sourness or if you are a Joy Strategist like me, you make lemonade. In theory, making lemonade is easy. Yet this week, I have needed a lot of help with this simple process. What I crave from this lemonade is to taste the sweetness of life amidst unfortunate situations. 9 months ago we rescued a sweet dog named Eli. Over our time together, we have realized that Eli is not the right dog for us. With a very heavy heart we have decided to find him another home. I wish I had bought stock in Kleenex before we made this decision.
In the middle of all of this, I launched into the Next Top Self Help Author contest(ps— today!)
One is to call my friends. It is great when they are there and can talk; they are so helpful. When they have not been available, I lean into my theme for the year. For the past 10 years, I have picked a theme to support me on my journey. This year my theme is to Expect the Best. Those 3 words have lifted me up when I am spiraling down in worry and doubt. Last, but not least is music. This morning I went to Bill Withers song, His words remind me that there is so much support available to us in so many different shapes and sizes. It is just a matter of leaning in, feeling what needs to be felt and ultimately, choosing joy again and again. And of course, the best leaning in is the hug from my husband.
The other night I went to what I call “Jersey Yoga.” It’s a bit of a tough class, but I love my friend, Renee, the instructor. I always walk away with something valuable when I go. Unlike me, Renee is extremely flexible and a teacher at heart, so teaching yoga comes easy for her, and I can tell it brings her happiness.
She started class with her thoughts about doing things that don’t come naturally. Renee talked the guitar she’s always wanted to play has carried around with her for the past 10 years. The part that made her uncomfortable was the upstroke – it was awkward for her and made want to stop trying. But Renee kept at it because she did want to learn. Recently she made a small adjustment to how she was holding the guitar that allowed the upstroke to flow comfortably and create the nice sound it was supposed to. Pressing on led to a small breakthrough that gave her great joy on her musical journey.
She shared that story with us and challenged us to be self-teachers during the class, doing things that might be uncomfortable for the possibility of that joyful breakthrough. During the class, I made small adjustments, experimenting and discovering how this old stiff body could do more. What was even cooler was watching these 2 guys practice forearm stands, and making the changes that allowed them to actually do it for the first time. I could tell they had a big sense of accomplishment.
If you keep doing what comes naturally, you will certainly find happiness, but if you can push through something uncomfortable, you may find a deeper joy to experience.
- Bernadette Peters, Natural Marketing Services
Day 10 of Reverb10 has me pondering the wisest decision I made this year and the results.
It is easy to think of a few of the not wise decisions, like eating dessert after a big meal last night-oy. It was my mom’s birthday cake, how could I resist?
It was what I did not resist this year that supported my wise decision.
At the moment that I said in fall of 2008 that I was going to ride my first Century (100 miles on my bicycle), in fall of 2009, I had no idea what I was getting into it. That happens alot for me. And I like stretching myself that way.
The training started and stopped, started and stopped , started and stopped. The day of the ride came and thank goodness, it rained. I love riding my bicycle in good conditions, I am not willing to suffer to reach my intentions.
I was disappointed and grateful in the same breath. Intuitively I knew that I was not ready. I also knew I would be soon.
Fast forward to this year. I made the commitment to riding my century at Beautiful Backroads in September of 2010. I trained both mentally and physically for this audacious goal. As the day got closer, I knew I was ready and set myself up with the right gear, snacks and peeps to support me. Ready to go–off I went and I completed the ride with ease, joy and a lot of fun!
The wisest decision that I made about that ride is sticking with me each and every day. I broke the 100 (actually 106 miles!) into smaller pieces. There were SAGs (rest stops) every 15 miles or so. I focused on riding 15 miles and then 15 more miles and so on, for 7 stops, including the finish. Those bites sized pieces were easy for me to digest. As I move forward in achieving other important things in my life, I remember to break them down into smaller bites, so that I can enjoy it more. Just like I really did enjoy that birthday cake last night!
Louise Hay has taught me so much since I was first introduced to her in the early 80′s. She shares the key to joy and how to obtain it in this video. It all starts with loving yourself. Louise teaches you an affirmation/mantra that I continue to use today. Take a few minutes and enjoy her wisdom-who knows, it could change your life.
Does the term “exercise” in the title, make you groan or bring you joy? Are you excited about the word “exercise” or on the verge of not reading this because of it? You may as well keep reading since reading alone won’t make you sweat!
I loathed exercise and the concept of sweat until I turned 24 when I started going to a gym. Then after a bout of the “ho-hums” in my life, I sought out a new hobby and fell in love with biking 9 years ago when I did my first mountain bike ride. Since then, I’ve been on and off both mountain and road bikes and the experience has radically changed my life.
It wasn’t long before three things became very apparent to me:
- I was losing weight without having to diet
- I was becoming more confident
- I was getting better rest at night
- I had more energy throughout the day
- I was becoming addicted to physical activity
- My creative muse thanked me all the time!
I’ve heard it said that the brain requires more oxygen than any other organ, so a sedentary lifestyle it seems, can severely hamper the flow of creative juices. Therefore, it seems logical that the best way to get more oxygen to our brains is exercise! For me, the creativity factor suffers when I go days on end without moving my body. More creative energy, better sleep, improved health and improved confidence… all are the wonderful benefits of exercise.
So are you ready to get up off the couch?
In my last two posts (A Moment of Grace & The Joy Diet) I celebrated my spontaneous healing from a life-long struggle with body image and food addition. In The Joy Diet, I suggested we ask the question, “What will bring me the most joy?”
Great question, huh? Well, a mere week after submitting that writing, I was overcome by a sudden, insane craving for candy corn! Not Godiva chocolate, not truffles, not something elegant and joy-filled. Nope, I wanted gutter-sugar. For me, candy corn ≠ joy. It makes me physically ill. Not joyful.
What The Heck Was Going On?
I wanted my healing to be complete perfect. When that candy-corn-craving showed up, I assumed I’d failed. Part of me still believes perfect is possible, that achieving it will somehow keep me safe. Naturally, that’s not true; however, sometimes I go unconscious, get amnesia and lose my way. You know, being human and all.
Enter Dr. Oz
I was running errands the other day (harboring a secret-evil plan to nonchalantly pick a bag of those tri-colored you-know-whats) and listening to Dr. Oz on the radio. His guest was scolding him for tolerating a minor water leak in his house, implying that this was hugely symbolic. He was, in fact, allowing damage to his foundation and this damage would inevitably encroach upon other areas of his life.
Dr. Oz light-heartedly responded that the leak wasn’t damaging the foundation and it really wasn’t a nuisance to him. It’s OK. Then he said something brilliant: “You know, the enemy of good is perfect.”
My perfectionism had crashed my party! There I was, enjoying a new state of health, not expecting that weird craving. Before I could get my bearings (and see that it’s just a little leak), in marched my perfectionism, pointing her boney finger at the PROOF of my failing and fraudulence! Oy.
Thank you Dr. Oz. I can relax and make room for my imperfect humanity. Forgiveness is key. So is compassion.
Compassion trumps perfection any day of the week!
Sometimes you have to slow down to get to your destination quicker. Enjoy the scenery of Bryson City, NC and Wendy’s perspective on creating a joy filled work day.