Joy in all the things

It’s been a busy and bleary winter at our home. You already know the story – sleep craziness, never-ending viruses of all varieties, working on a new family balance. No need to revisit (just check my last several posts – ha!). I know we aren’t alone in a lot of this. It’s been an endurance-testing season on many counts, for many people.

I’ve been feeling the starkness of winter hard, and somewhere along the line got stuck in a never enough rut – never enough time, health, money, sleep, you name it. Lack has unconsciously been the name of my game, and largely because I’m not a clear thinker when I don’t get a good night’s rest. My brain could be compared to one of those tanks of crickets at the pet store – I can’t catch a whole thought, so they all just jump around in chaos.

I was perusing Instagram yesterday and stumbled on a post from Molly of Orangette. If you aren’t familiar with Instagram, it’s a photo sharing app that lets you write a little caption to go with the snap of your pet or the pretty flower from your walk or your baby’s chubby knees. I love it – simple, often funny, and the way I’ve set it up, it avoids many of the pitfalls of other social media. I’m at mnalezny – feel free to request a follow if you’re into baby and cat and vegetable photography.

Molly’s post, which features a quick photo of her dog, Alice, head on pillow and draped across Molly’s unmade bed, has a caption that references how “off” she’s been feeling. She attributes it to not making time to write.

I saw this photo, read her caption, and a light bulb went off in my head. I’ve been so consumed with keeping up with the basics (wash dishes/vacuum cat hair/put away clutter, take care of sweet baby, do the things that make money, repeat) that there seems to be no time for anything else. It hadn’t occurred to me that I’m allowed to feel “off” purely because I haven’t had a chance to do the things that fan that spark of joy in me. Even as I write that, I realize how obvious it is – but again, I have cricket brain right now and need lifeline folks to point out the obvious for me. Thanks, Molly.

When life gets busy, it’s so easy to feel like we’ll do the “extras” when everything else is done, or when there’s time. Which, as many know, will be pretty much never. I mean, really. Never.

One of the things I know in my gut is that the things that bring joy also foster abundance and growth. So doing the things I’ve labeled as worthwhile and urgent based on the pressures that I feel is perhaps not my best option for opening my life to Love.  I end up feeling tight – and like I’m not enough.

Taking time to write and do the things that have no obvious payout except nourishing my heart and soul (planning my garden, extra yoga, reading for fun), deserve the top-of-the list spots because they’re how I channel love and joy. They’ve been right up there in the past, but it always took some serious determination to keep them among my priorities. It takes an extra leap of courage and trust to put them in their rightful place when I have this new mama-layer to add to the “shoulds” that circulate my brain.

I often go back to a favorite Osho quote: “Don’t move the way fear makes you move; move the way joy makes you move.”

What helps you move the way joy makes you move? What would happen if you put those things higher on your list and stopped imagining that at some point everything else will be finished and you can allow yourself creativity, rest, and connection with what nourishes you?

It’s something to ponder. I feel giddy when I remember this – and when I let my gut confirm that I’m more effective at getting my people fed and finding abundance when I’m tapped into the creative, life-giving, connected-to-Source part of who I am. And I believe you are, too. That “never enough” business is just a silly thought construction of our overly-busy, scarcity-focused world. We don’t have to buy in! That thought helps me move with joy.

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