While I was at the Spark Joy training in New York with Marie Kondo and her team, Marie talked about how each day should have joy in it. She awknowledged that while we will all have bad days, we should each have a way to reset ourselves and refocus to spark joy in ourselves again, even if it is just a spark.
Since I left, I’ve thought about that a lot. I have thought about what I do and have done that has worked and what I have tried that hasn’t worked. I even asked a couple of friends about what they do to reset themselves. No one really had a clear answer, which surprised me and made me think that it is even more important than I had initially thought.
Here are somethings I have been trying since I’ve been home that have helped me spark joy, even on the not-so-awesome days….
I like a tidy and clean home. While I don’t enjoy cleaning, it feels good to me when it’s done. So most days, when I get up I make my bed. There is something soothing to me about leaving for the day knowing that I will come home to a quiet, clean place. There are mornings that I will find myself cleaning or tidying before work and I feel as though I have set myself up for a better, more productive day when I do that. Even if the entire day goes sideways, I know I get to come home to something nice.
Something else I have noticed is that I have really enjoyed a feature on my new FitBit. I push the button on the side and it sets a two minute timer to breath slowly. (If I didn’t have a FitBit, I could certainly do that with a timer on my phone.) It has allowed me to slow down in between sessions and reconnect to my body.
Thinking about something I am looking forward to in the future has been helpful. Right this minute, I’m headed to Havasu Falls. If you haven’t heard of it (and I hadn’t before I was invited) just google image search it and you will see why have been looking forward to going there. In the spring, I’m head to Stingray City. I’m thrilled about both and they will each be totally different trips.
In my early 20’s, I learned that it was safe to swim with stingrays and I have wanted to go ever since!!! I found this photo of a woman high-fiving a stingray and now every time I see it, I’m filled with the excitement of being able to check off a HUGE thing off of my bucket list.
Where is your happy place? Is it curled up alone in bed with a book? It is at a dinner table with your entire family while everyone is engaged and together? How often do you get to your happy place? This week, I challenge you to figure out a small way that you could bring that happy place with you everywhere you go.
Yesterday, I heard two people both say, “it is what it is.” Both are people I care for and each is struggling with a situation in which they have little to no power.
I think it’s accurate, but I really don’t like to hear it or say it. I probably don’t like it because it highlights an area in which I have little to no power/control and I have some accepting (and probably some self care) to do.
Joy is a choice (more on that later) so we have to get pretty good at accepting all sorts of things we don’t like or have much control over in order to make a joy a reality. It's annoying, I know, but the more we fight soemthing that we can’t change, the longer we spend in the problem instead of the solution.
One of the things that trips me up and I know I’m not alone in this, is thinking that I can or should be able to impact the outcome of certain situations. I have said it before but it bares repeating, anytime you hear yourself outloud or even just in your head say the word “should,” you are probalby shitting on yourself.
“I should have gotten more done at work today.”
“I should lose __ lbs.”
“I should call my mother more often.”
Anytime you ‘should on yourself’ I encourage you to ask yourself why? Or says who? Would doing those things really make you happier or a better person? Or are those things you tell yourself to stay small and stuck? Part of being joyful is shedding as many unhealthy and unhelpful beliefs as possible.
Acceptance has nothing to do with liking what is going on and everything to do with removing self blame/shame. When we say things like, “I should do X,” it is typically b/c we think it will give us control over something that is completely out of our control.
For example, I used to (and still sometimes do) get upset when people would be really late in my personal life. As a kid, I was given messages about what the tardiness of others meant. But as an adult what it turned into was, ‘if they aren’t on time it’s because they don’t respect me.’ While that may or may not be true (each situation is different), holding on to that belief caused me more stress than it was worth.
I can’t force someone to be on time but I can accept that it probably has nothing to do with me. And that feels soooo much easier.
There are a couple of definitions for joy but these are the two I like best:
What if I said that that joy is possible when you clear the cobwebs of self doubt, blame and shame? What if the only thing standing between you and joy is... you?
Something else I heard yesterday:
I don’t know why but I like that better. Maybe because I haven’t heard it a zillion times already or maybe because it represents that tiny shift we all need to feel closer to gratitude and appreciation.
Last week I went to a seminar on the art of tidying up. While I was there, one of the lecturers said, ‘they way we treat our things is how we treat ourselves.’ I realized on the first day that the entire thing is about being grateful for what you have and being your authentic self. Could there be anything more joyful than the strength, courage and permission to be your authentic self?
I think joy is less about being happy every second of the day and more about being grateful and authentic. I can’t be both of those things if I am mired down in nasty thoughts about myself and others.
What do you think about acceptance? Are there things in your life that you are struggling to accept and move through? As always, I’m here and would love to hear from you.