Posts Tagged ‘Joy’

It seems that the holidays feel different every year. It’s not a matter of growing older, but maybe of seeing the world through different eyes.

Some years have seen good-sized gatherings, some years, small and intimate ones. Some years bright and merry, others quiet. There have been years where gift-buying was a big deal, others when it barely mattered at all. Years with COVID in play, years not.

The common thread? Change. Everything is always in motion, including how we spend our holidays, where, and with whom.

The other thread? Feeling grateful … for all the experiences the holidays have brought, and those they will bring.

Here’s hoping that you will not get lost in the rush, but lost in the peace, joy, and sweet calm of the season. I’ll be joining you for these.

It wouldn’t be the beginning of December if I didn’t mention that I have adorable Frenchie items for sale in my Etsy shop, or that my magical and beautiful picture book, Where Do Butterflies Go at Night?, would make a great Christmas gift.


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In 2008, Matt Harding, one of the greatest goodwill ambassadors of all time, in my opinion, posted a video of him dancing – “dancing badly” in his words – with people all around the world. In 14 months, he danced with children and adults of every color and nationality, indigenous peoples, even a whale, (and occasionally alone) in 42 countries.

In the face of so much sadness in our world, the memory of Matt Harding somehow returned to me. I cannot watch this without tears running down my face, because of the sheer joy of so many people happily sharing a simple love of dancing. Here’s 2008’s dance. Please watch full screen or theater mode, for even those not dancing are great to watch.

In 2012, he posted another world tour, this time dancing across the U.S., Europe, and beyond, even on the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Pacific Ocean. But he’s also in Syria, Afghanistan, North Korea, China, Russia, Rwanda, Iraq – countries where you might not expect him to be. And it’s all the same – people dancing with such joy. It does make you wonder why we stumble so as a human race, when this is all people want – to be happy.

So please take a minute and put a smile on your face (happy tears permitted!), maybe even get up and dance.

If you want to learn more, visit Where the Hell Is Matt? (later changed to Where the Heck Is Matt?). Can we please have more goodwill ambassadors like Matt Harding?

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I love this set of Christmas mugs that I’ve had for what seems like forever. They’re made in Germany with a beautiful glaze, and each is different. To tell the truth, the one with the Christmas tree has always been my favorite, but this year, I find myself wanting to use this one the most.

Maybe it’s the way the last two years have gone; maybe it’s just because I’m in the midst of a major life change; or maybe because I believe that the more joy I feel, the more the world feels. Our world can sure use some more, don’t you think?

Of course, that there’s good coffee in that mug is a joy in and of itself, but on a broader scale, I’m taking a few moments to center myself and feel the joy that I know is mine every moment if I just find and embrace it. So now, I’m sending some joy to you, whoever reads this. Pass it on.

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Perhaps more than at any time in recent memory, joy has been pretty hard to come by in this past year. At the moment, I am feeling contemplative.

Christmas, usually a time for excitement, celebration, and sharing, has been very quiet. Not without its bright spots, but quiet.

Advised to stay home, spend time only with immediate family/housemates, many of us have felt isolated, bored, lonely, and hungry for the company of others and the fun that always accompanied the season. But sometimes the bright spots came right to our doors.

In small town New Jersey, Santa Claus still came through our streets, courtesy of our local fire department. It was different this year; traditionally, Santa has come through in the evening accompanied by 5 or 6 fire engines, sirens wailing, lights flashing in the dark, and Santa hopped off the truck to give out candy canes to all the little ones. It may have been a smaller appearance, but it still lit up our hearts and smiles.

We had snow … the wet, heavy kind that’s hard to shovel, but beautiful none the less, especially after the driveways and walkways were cleared. It’s still a bit of a fairyland, if just we put our worries to the side.

We are told in so many ways to forget the past – it’s over – and not to worry about tomorrow – it’s not promised to us – but to find our joy in the moment. 2020 has been one long challenge to that idea. I need not enumerate the global, national, or individual tolls that have been paid this year, and yet, for those of us who continue to write, and for those of us who continue to read each other’s posts, and for so many more around the world, we’re still here.

Maybe worn and frayed about the edges, but we’re still here. Let’s celebrate that.

If we have roofs over our heads, warmth, and enough to eat, let’s celebrate that.

If we have people who care about us – and we are always loved by someone – let’s celebrate that.

Tonight, before the clock strikes 12, I plan to make a list of at least ten truly wonderful moments I’ve known in 2020, no matter how big or small. If I feel like writing more, I will, but at least that, because the way to find the joy in so many moments is to be grateful for them. And I will try to be more conscious of the many gifts that are mine in the moment, right here, right now.

May 2021 bring you many joyous moments of all sizes and kinds. May you know peace within your heart, and know you are always safe.



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I came across this wonderful quote today and it just stopped me in my tracks. Huh, I thought, isn’t that the truth?


“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” 

― Dale CarnegieHow to Win Friends and Influence People

And that set me pondering .. exactly what is it that makes me happy? When I stopped to think about it, there were so many things … and then I realized that what really makes me happy can sometimes change from minute to minute. This moment it can be a fall-scented candle, the next, the smile of someone I care about, noticing how surprisingly graceful is the flight of a Chinese mantis, the color of the coffee in my cup, the well-crafted labyrinthine twists and turns in the book I”m reading, the small feline squeaking at me for food, etc. Think about it … that’s where the happiness is – in our attitude towards everything in our lives. That’s not to say we should be Pollyanas. But how we look at what is in our lives can make the biggest difference in how happy we are. Mind you, I am not saying that I have mastered the zen art of peace and happiness every moment of the day, but I am getting better and better in knowing how to find it and embrace it, as can you.

I decided to do an online search for a photo of happiness for this post. As you can imagine, that brought up a real cross-section of images. Some of marriage, some of children and others of people leaping for joy, animals, music, beautiful nature scenes, etc.  because happiness is often very subjective. Of all the photos I looked at, what made ME feel happiness at that exact moment was the photograph above of this child playing in the rain, such joy in his face.

In a little while, it may be something else, but for right now … that’s happy. And it’s good.

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Accepting Now

I’m always a big fan of good quotes, and this one came up on my metaphysical flip calendar on Friday.

You cannot live on earth and avoid lessons;  but you can learn them easily and with joy rather than struggle.”  – Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer.

I’m thinking that learning them easily and with joy IS a big lesson no? I’ve been observing and talking to others and thinking about my own experiences, and realizing how much of our stress and anxiety is attached to outcomes, i.e. our having a lot invested in our own expectations coming to pass. Sometimes our expectations are based on “reality” and are reasonable. But sometimes they’re really what we want to happen. Or not to happen. In the latter two cases, the result is the same; we are not living in the present world of possibilities or accepting what is and we become messy balls of anxiety.

So in accepting the not-knowing, it might seem like we’re spending our lives walking on a tightrope of uncertainty, and in a way, I suppose we are.  But if we believe that there is a reason why things happen, whether we can see it or not, that there may be a bigger picture that we don’t know about, or a lesson we have yet to discern, then the tightrope has an infinite safety net. We’re really always OK. It’s our own attachment to outcomes that prevents us from walking that sparkling tightrope called life with confidence and perfect balance. And leaping with joy. Yes!

Accepting Now and being grateful for all we have in this moment, can bring us joy and help us learn our lessons without struggle. It can be a challenge. I’m right on the journey’s path with the rest of you, trying to grasp the lesson a little better,  on a deeper level each time, and coming back to joy. Happy travels.

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If you are a woman and you are reading this, then there’s a good chance that you are struggling to find the joy in life. Today’s pace, especially for women, is more frenetic than ever.  Many of us are working, maintaining a home for ourselves and others, raising children, and running like crazy. We are often overwhelmed and exhausted. Despite all this, we may still be reasonably happy, or … we may be downright miserable.

I do believe our natural soul state is one of love and joy. And that it easily gets lost in the pace of everyday life. As I am reading Marianne Williamson’s book, A Woman’s Worth, I find myself dwelling on this section where she writes about joy. She writes that joy is what happens when we recognize how good things are, how beautiful and amazingly powerful we are as women. And she adds that we can create joy in our daily life; we can decide to be happy. It may take our attention and some effort to focus on this, but it is possible.

I know, and perhaps you have, too, the feeling of real joy. For me, it is a distinct feeling that all is right in the world; all is well and perfect at that moment. The fact is that we can experience this feeling so much more often by focusing on the good, and on the amazing beings we, as women, are. I want more joy; how about you? Reading A Woman’s Worth is just fueling that desire for joy right now. This might be a book you’d be interested in if you’d like to discover more of your own joy and your own worth in the world.

Without ever getting into a women’s rights kind of attitude, but always staying in the positive and the uplifting, Williamson writes about how women have lost their place and been kept down throughout much of history, and conversely, of all we are and can be.

The passage that I love in this section is as follows. “A joyful woman, merely by being, says it all. The world is terrified of joyful women. Make a stand. Be one anyway.”

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