I am a fan of Tasha Tudor, always have been. Her books illuminated my childhood with magic, and mine was a childhood that needed something to get me up and over the humps of growing up with an alcoholic father....but that's another story for another day. When I read Tasha's beautiful books I was transported to a place in time where gentleness reigned and life was sweet. "Take Joy" for instance, which is her luminous ode to the joy that could be found in the ordinary. It left me dumbstruck. The thought that you could choose to except joy into your life, no matter what is going on around you, seemed revolutionary to me. It has taken me thirty years to actually put this into practice though...maybe I was a slow learner.....but I finally got it! And when I get something I embrace it for all I'm worth.
So let's make today about choosing to take Joy
Life is easy when served up to you on a silver platter, but when it's served up on a garbage can lid you can still choose to take the joy and leave the rest. How simple it is on the days when everything is going well.....your job provides you with fulfilling work, your kids behave, your beloved does the dishes and rubs your feet, your mother-in-law (or, your mother) is actually nice to you, the car repair comes in at a much lower cost then expected, etc. You know what I'm talking about, the stars seem all lined up and all the outward things in your life just hum along smoothly. But what about the other days? The days your job sucks, your loved ones treat you like a doormat, you get rear-ended at a stop light? What about those? And what about the sudden and devastating days? The scary diagnosis? The man, or woman, that walks out on you, the foreclousure notice that was in the morning mail? What about those days? There is no joy to be found in those things. I wouldn't expect anyone to jump up and down and grin ear-to-ear. But what I'm talking about here is quiet joy, the kind that stays around for the long haul. It's a joy that is born out of a knowing that this too shall pass.
I have watched a dear friend over this last year go through some very trying times. I'm talking three surgeries, chemo, and the death of a parent....and every time I saw her she was smiling. Not the I'm going mad kind of smile, though I wouldn't have blamed her, but rather a smile that signaled inner strength, an inner knowing that life's dramas did not define her. She found joy in the ordinary. I was meant to cross paths with this woman, it was inevitable that I meet her and glean her strength and be inspired by her joy for life. "When the student is ready, the Teacher will appear". Indeed. I was ready, and she appeared in my life. But you know what? I'm always struck how the best "gurus" if you will, are not these holy looking, pious people. No, they are everyday folk....they smoke, drink, swear, have cancer, are in wheelchairs, and are on welfare. They also rear-end us at stop lights, refuse insurance claims and seem to wreck havoc on our lives. Odd, isn't it? Not one of them walks around chanting or holding their hands in prayer position! They are all teachers, if you pay attention...but that my friends is another post for another day as well, because some of my best Aha! moments came from observing these kinds of Teachers. But this particular friend, this dear lady, taught me a joy that I needed, and her brand of joy came my way when I needed it most. The art of simple, quiet joy....
Here's what makes me smile now everyday: My dog running with her nose in the snow. My cats head butting me with love. The way the sun comes through the window and makes beautiful lace patterns on the floor. A cup of tea held up to my nose and inhaled deeply. The warm arms of a loved one wrapped around me. Soft fuzzy socks. The smell of clean laundry. A pot of soup on the stove simmering away. Sharp, cold air with the faint smell of woodsmoke. Rain on my face. The neighbor that waves when he drives by. The cuckoo clock ticking away as I type right now. My very breath...calm, deep, full. A breath that comes now with certainty.....the certainty that I am so much more then the problems of this world! And so are you, dear reader, so are you. Take joy whenever you can. It's there in the sweetest and smallest of ways, and on "those" days when it's all you can do to stay afloat.....take joy anyway. Open your heart to joy, and watch it grow. You will be pleasantly surprised at how wide your heart will open as you accept these gifts that are freely given.
Until next time....blessings upon your heart.