more journey with joy…

When life throws up a bunch of hurdles and challenges, I have to keep reminding myself that I can connect with joy even if I don’t feel happy about what’s going on or how I’m feeling otherwise.

For me, connecting with joy sometimes means that I have to really, really look for those moments, those little pockets, those little somethings, that bring me joy.

Sometimes it means being very deliberate, very intentional. I have to watch for them, so that I can notice them when they happen, and capture them to bring them into my heart and my day.

Sometimes it means I have to actively do something to connect with joy. To make a deliberate choice and decision to make that connection… Even something simple like pulling up a favorite song to listen to. Or spending a few minutes gazing at a beautiful sky. Or giving our cat some scritches and cuddles.

Sometimes we have to deliberately notice. Or consciously choose.

And I’ve found it’s sort of like a muscle – the more I work this joy muscle, the more often I realize I’m feeling joy.

Even when things are difficult. And even if I’m not exactly happy.

I created this art journaling JOY page two or three years ago. It’s nothing fancy, but if you’d like it as a reminder of JOY, it’s yours if you’d like to have it. Just click below to access the downloadable and printable pdf of the image – as with all the printables here, it’s free.

 

 

journey with joy – again…

Several years ago, I did a blog challenge for myself to journey with joy.

It was in the midst of an incredibly difficult year and I was doing my best to get through each day. More than ever before, I came to understand the importance of being connected to JOY (which isn’t the same as being happy). I decided to live into being connected with joy by blogging about it. I thought having such a conscious action focused on JOY would be helpful for me.

I called it my journey with joy.

My challenge to myself back then, in August 2013, was to blog daily for a month about JOY, even if it was only posting a photo that brought me joy.  I started off consistently (when I moved from my former online home to this current blog, I only brought one of those August ’13 posts over) but I ended up not blogging every day, mostly due to my father’s declining health and then death later that month.

But even without blogging every day, the challenge was helpful for me with dealing with all that was happening during that time. And consciously doing my best to stay connected with joy has been helpful for me in the often-difficult years since then.

So I’ve decided to blog my journey with joy again.

I’m not planning to blog daily, though.

And even when I do blog, not every post will be about JOY.

But from now through the end of this year, JOY is going to be a sort of theme here.

My hope is that it will help me in my own journey to stay connected with joy (which, again, is not the same as being happy).

And I’m also hoping it might help you too… maybe by offering a bit of hope, a reminder that you’re not alone, a gentle nudge to keep your eyes open for whatever brings you joy, something (even a moment) that’s uplifting to your day.

May our journeys with joy help us travel this road of life.

 

watercolor playing for the 100 day project…

A couple of times in the past, I started to participate in #The100DayProject only to stop after a few days. This year, though, has been different. I began on the “official” start date of April 2 and I’m writing this on day 71… and I’m still going, doing a creative project every day for these one hundred days.

I’m not sure why it’s different for me this year. Maybe part of it is because I chose a daily project that’s something I absolutely love – playing around with watercolor paints.

And maybe another part of it (and maybe even the biggest part) is because I truly am letting myself simply play.

It doesn’t matter what the end results look like.

It doesn’t matter how much – or how little – time I spend on a single painting.

It doesn’t matter if I use many colors or only one. Or whether I use a small journal or a large journal or even no journal at all.

The point, for me, is to play with watercolors every single day.

And that’s what I’m doing.

For me, it’s relaxing. Calming. Meditative. Soothing. Happy-feeling.

For me, it helps with anxiety and stress. (So much.)

It’s part of my healing journey, it helps distract me when I’m not feeling well, and it helps me connect with joy.

That’s my why for this. And because those particular things – those things that make up my why – are so very important for my life right now, and because I let myself simply enjoy the process and play, I haven’t needed to “make” myself sit down every day to do this.

I come to the practice eagerly and joyfully. I look forward to it. And I have fun with it.

Do you let yourself simply play with a creative practice? Do you relax about it, and do it for the joy it brings?

I hope so. It helps with life, it really does.

(I share my 100-days-project posts on instagram with the hashtag #100daysofwatercolorplaying – come connect with me there!)