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.

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.

 

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.