I’m feeling inspired by the lovely words of the divine Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
So how are people left feeling in your wake? Are they inspired, filled with laughter, knowing they’ve been fully heard or even just curious? Go ahead, sprinkle some of your JOY today . . .
Here’s a stunning story of real freedom, peace, reinvention and divinity. Check it out knowing that it will both inspire and challenge you to ‘do what you want!’
Dive in and join me and SlowMo for lateral acceleration via personal delusion. It sounds like a near perfect fast track to JOY.
I’ve never been so bad across so many things at the same time. It all started with the best intention. I’m a self-proclaimed neophiliac and harbor a deep love for all things new. Not in the ‘gosh those new shoes are going to change my life’ sort of way, but more about embracing new experiences. These experiences tend to come along with some dimension of physical challenge. Perhaps my adoration of heroic Evel Kienvel in my childhood has never really subsided.
This drive to try new things has led me to attempt ocean kayaking, freestyle swimming, unicycling, and sailing all within the last 12 months. Its also resulted in endless unexpected mouthfuls of sea water, bruise inducing dismounts and scrapes, crashes into innocent bystanders, and a new appreciation for the speed of Sydney ferries and their right of way status.
I’m a big believer in sinking into a ‘beginner’s mind’. Especially as we get older and excel at both our career and hobbies. Perhaps unknowingly, we tend to seek out things that attract positive reinforcement from both others and ourselves. But the reverse is just as powerful. Knowing that you will fall over. Knowing that you can’t yet swim one full lap in the pool. Knowing that you still can’t remember how to fasten that knot correctly. And also, knowing that we can choose our perspective regarding these mini failures and even tinier steps forward.
Being an absolute beginner offers a certain amount of freedom and letting go of expectations. We have the chance to redefine our own personal meaning of success. Mine currently includes not crashing (as often) and being able to keep up with the very senior swimmers in the pool. It’s a true gift to recognize your own gumption and ability to continue to try, try and try again. And importantly, when we push ourselves outside of our comfort zone, we’re offered endless opportunities to laugh at ourselves!
Humility is a powerful teacher. If we can look at our miniature missteps with levity and kindness . . . well, the ego has no hope of victory. So what the heck, give something new a go. Don’t let fear of embarrassment stop you from finding a new source of JOY.
Its fair to say I’ve seldomly, if ever, been excited about rubbish bags. That’s all changed and it has nothing to do with durability or perfect fit. Instead, these little parcels of purpose have come loaded with an unexpected message of JOY. Waste is such a compelling topic. I believe our world in general has become more disposable. Our greed assumes that resources are limitless. We give things up, pass them by entirely, or convince ourselves that both things and people have expiry dates in our lives. How often do we disregard something that could be uplifting? If we look at something fresh can we find an unexpected layer of beauty? Let’s not waste these precious opportunities to increase our daily dose of JOY. Or at the very least . . . smile while taking out the rubbish!
I love yoga. There is no real surprise in that statement. But with further introspection, its interesting that I tend to narrow my yoga experiences – being drawn towards the most dynamic forms of yoga. Fluid movements that stretch the body and mind and tend to generate a fair amount of heat capture my attention and time. If its full of action and energy I seem to excel and truly thrive on the pace and physical challenges of twisting and turning my body into various asanas – typically held for a series of 5 breaths.
Lately, since I’m focused on physical healing and tuning into my body, I’m working hard to listen to what I truly need . . . and rather surprisingly, the notion of yin yoga continues to surface. After trying to disregard these internal pokes and reminders, I eventually gave in and signed up for a 2 hour yin workshop.
Turning up I had forgotten that yin yoga includes a seemingly unusable amount of props. I was given multiple bolsters, blankets, blocks and pillows. These soft support mechanisms don’t readily equate to yoga in my narrow yang driven mind. But after getting past my fear of drowning in endless props and slowness to the point of stillness, I started to sink in and fully appreciate the surrender of holding asanas in a static state for over 5 minutes each. I experienced a juicy release in several postures that left me feeling quite soft and floating up towards the ceiling. After 2 hours of ‘release’ I left my mat in a loopy euphoric state and it struck me, perhaps its only when we are fully supported can we fully let go and sink into the juiciest chapters of our lives and bodies.
Find your joy and seek out what supports you and your physical health. With it comes the best bits of life I reckon.
We seem to live during a time where achievement is celebrated above all else. I’m a big fan of being productive and certainly believe that goals play a critical role in our self-growth and happiness. But when ticking off a list of achievements starts to creep into your ‘free time’ it might be time to reassess your well being.
I remember my Dad and I talking about one of his attempts to retire from the teaching career he loved. I asked him what he was struggling with most during his self-imposed retirement. He answered,
“the hardest part is doing enough each day to answer Jan’s question at the end of her working day which is always ‘what did you do today?’”
My Dad didn’t suffer from achievement overload, but he did feel the pressure to meet some unspoken expectation of being productive.
Finding the right balance between accomplishing things and just listening to what your body needs in the moment is a big step forward. Perhaps its time to do less and be more.
What if being productive were more selfish? What if we prioritize our own energy levels and mood? Tune in, listen to what the body and soul need and then deliver. Maybe you need to dance around your living room to your favourite tune, head outside and just take pleasure in watching a bird for a very long time or even give in to that temptation to nap.
Nurture yourself. Sink in and listen. Let your measure of productivity be about producing more JOY. After all, its very contagious.