Friday, March 27, 2020

Joy Project: Abundance

For the second joy aesthetic in her book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, designer Ingrid Fetell Lee has chosen abundance. Admittedly, abundance is quite often a wonderful thing, but the concept seems a bit fraught in this time of Covid-19. For some, abundance is a closet full of toilet paper, all the shows they can stream, and a raging bull stock market. For others, abundance is an overflow of kindness, selflessness, and generosity. I imagine most of us fall somewhere in the middle, with an extra helping of worry thrown in.

So it was really interesting to read a designer's take on it. Lee writes, "The kind of abundance that really matters is not material accumulation but sensorial richness." She cites some interesting research about how animals and humans raised in "enriched environments" perform better on cognitive tests. Babies naturally seek out sensory experiences in order to support neural development. Adults of all ages are emotionally more satisfied and tend to adapt better physically with the right level of stimulation around them. (This is a key point, because overabundance--of food, alcohol, or technology, for example--tends to have the opposite effect.)

And how does a person go about enriching her or his environment with abundance? By focusing on "a diverse array of sensations", lest we develop what Lee calls "sense hunger."

As I write this, I'm noticing the diverse sensations around me: Music playing, candles burning, a fountain trickling, and a lava lamp blobbing away. I'm sitting on an inflatable exercise ball in lieu of a chair, which adds bouncing into the mix. (This is what happen when two people must work from home with only one office chair. But I'm okay with it!) A dish of seashells, smooth stones, and bits of wood sits near my desk, offering a variety of textures for my eyes, and, if I choose, my fingers.

Considering all that, I'm giving this little corner of my life an A+ for abundance! But it's still going to take practice to think of abundance in these sensory terms, instead of the material acquisition we are conditioned to value from birth.

If you have an example of abundance from your environment, please share in a comment. And speaking of abundance, next month will be full of posts from me, thanks to the A to Z Challenge!

I hope you're safe and well! See you April 1st. No fooling!

Monday, March 16, 2020

A-to-Z 2020 Theme Reveal: Joy

Theme Reveal #AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

Hello! As I write this, I'm realizing that I set myself up for two reveals in a row: first the yellow wall, now my A-to-Z Theme. Perhaps next week, you will learn that I am the Masked Singer? Stay tuned!

My A-to-Z theme this year is Joy. Here's a quick recap of how that came about: each member of my critique group chooses a word for the new year to hopefully inspire and guide us in our writing. 2019 felt like the equivalent of a wet blanket for me, so I wanted to choose a word to bring good energy into my life in 2020. After some deliberation, I settled on Joy.

To help me along on my journey, my sister gave me the book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, by Ingrid Fetell Lee. I am working through one chapter a month and trying to implement a change or two for the better. (If you're curious, this is the reason for the yellow wall.) I call it Joy Project 2020.

Please come back and visit often during April as I work my way through an alphabet's worth of joyful things, people, and places. If you leave a comment, I will do my best to return the favor.

Happy Blogging!!

Image result for joy meme

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Reveal

This post was supposed to happen last week, but sometimes even small projects take me longer than they should. Anyway, here I am with the reveal: I painted one wall of my office space and swapped the large desk with hutch for the smaller desk that was in my bedroom. Oh, and I got a new lamp.



Color choice is really hard for me, probably because I know I'm bad at it. After lots of thought, I decided on yellow, because my writing space is in the basement and doesn't get a lot of sunlight. I wanted something that would pop--you know, that whole energy/joy thing. In the end, I chose a color called Geographic Yellow. I assume it's a reference to National Geographic, which brought thoughts of travel and adventure to mind. When I got it on the wall, however, it reminded me more of macaroni and cheese. (The perfect color for a Kraft room, ha ha.) 

I didn't love it at first, but it's been almost two weeks now, and I think the color is growing on me. It certainly does liven up the wall! And the big desk looks much better in its new home, so I guess this project is an overall improvement. Whether the change jump-starts my creativity is yet to be determined. Fingers crossed!

If you missed my first installment of Local Joys, pop on over to my other blog and check it out!