Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Joy Project Wrap-Up: The Tools

2020, am I right?

When 2020 began, none of us had any idea what the year had in store. And here we are at the end, looking forward to gentler days ahead. We are wiser now, more cautious, with a weary sadness that will take a while to shed, like sloughing off a tight snake skin. But through it all, 2020 had small silver linings and moments of joy. I hope you experienced both of those.

This year, as I read my way through Ingrid Fetell Lee's book Joyful, I was reminded time and again that often, joy is where you find it. We just need to move through the world with our senses in tune and our hearts open. An open mind doesn't hurt, either. 

At the back of the book is a "Joyful Toolkit" with exercises and tips for promoting joy, and recognizing and removing "killjoys." I plan to refer to this often in the coming year to keep my joy mojo going. Other inspirational resources from Ingrid include The Aesthetics of Joy website and The Joyspotters Society Facebook page.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy New Year, full of joy and abundance. And rest.

See you soon!

Friday, December 18, 2020

Joy Project: Renewal

I've made it through the last chapter of Ingrid Fetell Lee's book, Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, and I cannot think of a better topic for the end of 2020 than renewal. This "unprecedented" year affected everyone to a lesser or greater degree, and we are tired, limping toward the holiday season dragging stubborn hope along with us.

A new year is of course a time of renewal, but other than a fresh calendar and some resolutions (or not), where do we find help in hitting the reset button? As with so many things, looking to nature for inspiration is a great place to start. Nature cycles constantly through decay and renewal, death and rebirth. Even now, in the midst of wintry weather, I notice the cycles of freezing and melting, sun rising and setting, birdsong and silence.

But plants have got to be one of the best and most accessible symbols of renewal, whether it is a simple leaf stretching toward the sun or a giant flowerhead bursting into bloom. As anyone who has battled a weedy garden knows, plants have energy that is sometimes difficult to quash. From a design standpoint, reproducing the elements of viney curves and colorful blossoms in our space reminds us that change is not only possible but inevitable. Or, as Ingrid puts it, " suggest a momentum toward a more abundant world."

This is also the reason indoor blooming bulbs such as amaryllis are so popular during the scarcity of the colder seasons. The gradual process of growing and unfurling gives us the anticipation of beauty, with a serving of hope on the side. So, friends, as we make our way to the end of 2020, I encourage you to buy a plant from your local greenhouse, sow a few seeds in a pot, force some bulbs, or suspend an avocado pit in a jar of water...anything to serve as a daily reminder that renewal isn't only reserved for the turning of a new year. It's with us every day, even in small ways.

I'll leave you for now with these lines from the last paragraph of Joyful:
To fix the world is a tall order, but to renew it is not nearly so daunting. The lesson of renewal is that from small seeds big things grow.

Stay safe and well, and enjoy whatever makes the holiday season special for you!