Be.Hold. JOY (& my 2014 manifesto)

Be.Hold. JOY (& my 2014 manifesto)

 

I find ecstasy in living — the mere sense of living is joy enough.

– Emily Dickinson

I took some time on New Year’s Eve day to be thoughtful about my 2013.  What was I celebrating?  What was I just as happy to be leaving in the year’s wake?  And in what ways was I preparing myself to be open for what 2014 has in store for me?  I paused at that one.

 

Can you relate to this?   I can become so consumed by all that I’m about that I forget to clear myself out for the unexpected.  And so often, the unexpected is waaaaaay better than anything I could have planned.  In my experience, the unexpected comes in the form of Joy.  It’s often a bit startling, nearly always spontaneous, and fully embodied.  Realizing this, last Tuesday morning, I began to smile, and then I began to laugh…and then I began to really, REALLY laugh.  Loud.  For about 5 minutes.  It felt so good and hearing my own voice only prompted me to laugh more.

 

And when the laughter slowed and subsided, the words on my lips were, “Be Joy.”  In this New Year, whenever possible, I want to Be Joy.

 

I will forget this desire.  I will forget it for moments – or days – at a time.  I will, once again, become consumed, or I will be overtaken by fears and anxieties that compete for my attention.  And so, considering this on New Year’s eve, I thought about all the people in my life who, through their own practice of Being Joy, remind me that I, too, can make that choice.  AND, that even when my own Joy feels far, far away, I can Hold the Joy of another.

 

You’ve noticed this, right?  The delight that comes from tasting the joy in the story of a friend, a child’s face walking down the street, or recalling something funny that happened the night before?  (If not, please watch this and let me know what happens – and I mean it: I want to hear from you!).  SO, if we can’t Be Joy, we can Hold Joy.  And then, Behold!  Joy abounds.  Why am I on a New Year’s jag about Joy?

 

Because things are dire, that’s why.  Because the world needs us and it needs us to show up in our Joy.

 

In the final days of a year, as is my tradition, I created my Vision Board for the year-to-be.  This manifesto created itself, with zero prompting. It was revealed in Joy and it offers a string of instruction that, to me, feels timely and perfect to share in the dawn of 2014.

2014 Vision Board Manifesto

2014 Vision Board Manifesto

Be.Hold. JOY! And from this place, let’s make some good change roll!

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

 

 

 

 

Compass Clues: Finding Home between Dizzy and Distraction

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.

– Emily Dickinson

The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.

– Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time

 

Doing less bad is not the same as doing more good…You have one life and, like a tree, you can create abundance, a profusion.

– William McDonough

 

Parvati and Friend, Diablo Summit

Parvati and Friend, Diablo Summit

 

Two Saturdays ago, a friend and I were on a bike adventure, making our way from Berkeley to the summit of Mt. Diablo and back.  The day was perfect: blue sky, warm sun, and a cool breeze.  The route journeys through several eco-systems, including Suburbia, where we pulled over to check directions and have a snack.  The bench was positioned beneath a shopping center’s speaker.  Music, similar to what might be playing in a spa, wafted its tranquil tunes into the streets, and behind us the two-story-window display beckoned from a store that makes me cuckoo: The Container Store.  I sheepishly apologized to my friend, then preceded to soap-box anyway about how insane our species has become – continuing to buy things, thus “necessitating” entire stores that specialize in helping us contain ourselves.  Never mind the thrift stores and consignment shops accepting our “rejects” as quickly as we’re off to spend the $25 promotion we received last week on Amazon.com.

 

These realities (as you patient readers know), both pain and humor me.  More recently, observations like these have been my mirror.  In its reflection I see how consumed I am – how distracted I can be, how dizzy I feel by any number of projects, tasks on a To Do list, or some other alluring racket.   So often the result is…paralysis.  Really.  In the face of too many choices, a couple of things happen.  Initially, I consider the possibilities, watching as they become rabbit holes, mysteriously (?) related to the original query at-hand.

 

RabbitholePhoto: awesomeoff.com

RabbitholePhoto: awesomeoff.com

And then, after kicking each ball a little further down the field, or succumbing to overwhelm, I short-circuit, glaze over and resolve that the right decision will be obvious when a) the timing is better, or b) I’ve taken a nap.  This wouldn’t be so frustrating except that I have lived my adult life feeling fairly competent, highly capable, quite adept at multi-tasking.  And so, the paralysis is disconcerting.  Did something change?  (i.e., time is speeding up, Lauren is getting older)  What needs to happen?  Can I do something differently?

 

Photo art: smosh.com

Art: smosh.com

Is it possible that, similar to the World of Stuff, the World of Ideas and Go-Go-Go has become so dense, so replete, that our souls need their own Container Store of sorts?  I laugh…and then I scream.  Softly.

 

 

 

I pray harder in these moments.  I know that another space exists, a parallel universe that promises perspective. That parallel universe that is, in truth, the ONLY universe, our cosmic home.  And in an otherwise lost moment, even the smallest taste of it becomes a compass filled with clues.

 

Quiet rediscovered, dizziness subsiding, I hold the cool compass with my entire being.  In my compass, the clue often directs me toward regenerativity.  William McDonough (above) is right: doing less bad is not the same as doing more Good.  I want my life to be filled with not merely staying out of the way, being sure I’ve placed my recycling in the right bin, but with contributions for the Better, capital “B!”  I want my days, my efforts, my intentions to provide nourishment, restoration and the potential for growth.  And don’t we all?

 

If in even the smallest actions (and no actions) of our lives, we can feel our participation in the fertility, hydration, and healing that creates the Whole, perhaps the plethora of choices would be fewer, or at least offer more good than less bad?  Compass in charge, I asked for a tangible expression, something to shake me from my paralyzed stupor.

 

It didn’t take long.  I fell in love over night.  Last Sunday, my neighbor and I collected our new colony of bees and helped them move in to their new home.  They’re amazing.  Not distracted, totally dizzying (but in that good way).  The thought of doing “less harm” isn’t even part of their eco-system.  They are only about doing more good: good for the flowers, good for the Queen, good for the hive, good for Winnie-the-Pooh, and good for any of us who value the healing properties of, “hunny.”

 

Bees 2013

Bees 2013

What does your compass suggest?  In which direction are you traveling?  More Good?  First star, right straight till morning!!!

 

Compass.  Photo art: herviewfromhome.com

Compass. Photo art: herviewfromhome.com