Find Your Joy
Time is marching onward and much shorter than we imagine. How can we live in the province of joy regardless of life’s current circumstances? Faced with the challenges, the disappointments, the ups and downs of the Corona-coaster and Presidential race, I have come to believe that joy is a spiritual discipline. Archbishop Desmund Tutu, who I love, said, “Discovering more joy does not, I am sorry to say, save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily too. Perhaps we are are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters.” Joy is contagious! Last night, I was driving home from picking up one of my children from a friend’s house. We just happened to pass a house right when they were turning on their Christmas lights for the first time (Yes, on November 7th!). I literally stopped the car in the middle of the street so we could take it all in. There were lights everywhere, every bush, branch, door, window; most exciting were the radiant globes hanging 20 feet hight in the trees. This family was going for it!! The lesson: Never postpone joy!
Following are just a few suggestions to invite a little joy to your week! Please share some of yours in the comments!
I discovered this miracle elixir several years ago on a hike in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 2020 has felt like a marathon, and this tea is keeping me going! SportTea is amazing hot or cold, has no sugar and infinite health benefits. You get all the polyphenols of green tea without the caffeine and “wet dog” taste. It also includes Vitamin C, Siberian Eleuthero root/ginseng (natural energizer and helps build endurance), potassium (helps keep muscles from cramping), and ginger (helps circulation) and mate (mental alertness). It is caffeine free, with no artificial colors, sugar, flavors, preservatives or additives. Preparing a cup of tea soothes me in these precarious times.
The Boom Brick was an unexpected gift for my birthday and I love it! You simply set your iPhone on top of the box and you have a speaker on the go! This summer I took it on hikes, picnics and I use it when I am writing!
Green Door Gourmet has been my second home through the pandemic. A week does not go by that I don’t visit once, twice, sometimes three times a week. The joy I feel hopping in the car with my woven basket overflowing with organic eggs, fresh greens, and bouquets of flowers cannot be matched! Sylvia and her welcoming team make you feel like the Green Door farm is your farm! They are open Thursday-Sunday. Sylvia is known for her cooking and you can find some amazing prepared soups and meals in the refrigerator.
Covid cannot keep me from dreaming! The Cook’s Atelier follows the story of a mother daughter “Francophile” dynamo team who had a dream to start a cooking school in France. If you are a fan of Julia Child, M.F.K. Fisher and Alice Waters, you are in for a treat. The photography and recipes alone will give you joy.
I have become such a fan of The Good Shepherd Collective. Their music has become the healing and hopeful musical backdrop at our house on Sunday mornings. Most Sundays, they gift with a new song. I had their song, The Sun will Rise, on repeat through quarantine.
I find myself going back to my old faithfuls. Thomas Merton never disappoints. I have started reading this exquisite gift before I go to bed. Merton was a poet monk whose words take you by the hand and draws you into a sacred space of peace. Inner peace is a joy guarantee.
Sometimes a small token does us a world of good! In 2020, we have all experienced losses, great and small. Together, we need to find ways to recover our hope. In this spirit, I have created Big Hope—a prayer booklet accompanied by the Hope Rope—a hand-made prayer rope of olive wood beads from Italy. There are seven prayers that accompany the seven largest beads. I carry my Hope Rope with me everywhere (great for school hook-up lines), and I have found that it does calm me. The quickest way to experience joy is from a calm spirit. Sometimes I read the prayers from the card, other times I assign a bead for a specific person, circumstance, or deep hope. What we need right now is a domino effect of hope. The gift is yours. My hope is that you will pick one person or many that you think could use a nudge of hope right now, and I’ll send you both a Hope Rope. Share your mailing address and the name and email address of a friend, family member, work colleague and I’ll drop the gift in the mail to both of you!