Posts Tagged ‘delight’

Delight at 60

Posted on Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Today I went to a friend’s 60th birthday party and discovered it was, primarily, an ecstatic performance, by her, of some dance/story/sign language pieces which she offered to us, her friends. It was delightful to see such an expression of joy in her and in us. May we all express ourselves with such joy and abandon in our own lives.

A Joyful Revolutionary?

Posted on Sunday, March 13th, 2011

“Radically new or innovative; outside or beyond established procedure, principles, etc.: a revolutionary discovery.”
— Does a man become a revolutionary out of the belief he’s entitled to joy rather than submission? —  Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna

I had never thought of myself as a revolutionary before reading The Lacuna; idealist, perhaps, but never a revolutionary. But if entitlement to joy is a benchmark, then I am, indeed, a revolutionary, albeit a fairly quiet one. I don’t pick up arms, or even a megaphone but, at times, the quill. Or, just as likely, I quietly practice tonglen (a Buddhist breathing practice of breathing in pain and suffering, your own or someone else’s, and breathing out/sharing joy, delight, peace, etc.). I gave up my license to practice psychology because the methodology and bureaucracy no longer afforded joy to me or my clients; now I practice coaching people on how to experience more joy in their lives. Never mind previous life experiences find joy in the moment, in the NOW, and the rest of it falls away, at least for as long as you maintain the practice. As with any such practice, you simply keep coming back to it, without judgment about how easily you fall out of it. Even sitting here in McDonald’s, when I look for joy within myself, I find it. And then it appears without, in the delighted voices of some children who just entered. Squeals of delight; ignited by me creating my own reality? Who can say.

Joyful Moment 2/20/11

Posted on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Another musical driving moment: Wild Horses by the Stones, and If I Had a Boat, by Lyle Lovett. An unlikely musical pairing, but it brought back memories, and conjured up some wonderful, delightful images. Let’s all “go out on the ocean” and ride our ponies on the boat.

The Transformational “Slough of Despond”

Posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

I first came across sloughs in my mid-thirties as I traveled around northern California; ;these small, muddy areas were often labelled with signs which simply read “SLOUGH.” (According to an online dictionary, a slough is “an area of soft, muddy ground; swamp or swamplike region.”) For some reason, I began calling my moments of despair the “slough of despond” which, whenever I thought of it, tended t pull me immediately out of the despair into a lighter state; in fact, it often got me laughing out loud because of how ridiculous it sounded. It occurs to me now that this was an interesting intuitive understanding on my part, as sloughs are exactly the kind of murky “shadow” realm where one is likely to find gold and pearls. What do you find in your “slough of despond” when you look more deeply?

A Favorite Holiday Recipe (from Modern Maturity, 2001)

Posted on Monday, December 6th, 2010

Butternut Squash and Potato Strudel (makes 8 servings; I usually double it)**
2 T butter
1 C chopped onion
1 t. salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1T fresh marjoram leaves or 1 t dried leaves, crushed
1 3/4 C peeled/chopped butternut squash
1 3/4 C peeled/chopped new potatoes
2 T crumbled feta cheese
4 phyllo sheets, thawed
1/4 C melted butter
Garnish: Styrian pumpkin seed oil seasoned olive oil, feta cheese, and fresh marjoram

  • Melt the 2 T of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, salt, pepper, and marjoram leaves. Sauté  5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix in squash and potatoes; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Cover and cook another 5-10-15 minutes, until vegetables are soft and breaking down.
  • Cool and stir in the crumbled feta cheese.
  • Separate 1 phyllo sheet from the others, covering the remaining sheets with a damp towel. Brush the sheet with melted butter, then fold it in half lengthwise and again brush with butter.
  • Place 1/4 of the filling at the bottom of the sheet and fold the sheet over into a triangle. Continue folding until you reach the end of the phyllo sheet. Place on a greased baking sheet. Repeat until all filling is used.
  • Bake strudel in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.
  • Serve with a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil or seasoned oil, crumbled feta, and a sprig of marjoram or Italian parsley leaves.

**I make the complete recipe once a year; in between, I simply make and serve the filling as an alternative side dish to plain potatoes.

Check for Events Regularly

Posted on Friday, February 26th, 2010

Everyone wanted their picture taken with my Thanksgiving Labyrinth Quilt.

If you wish to see my work or hear me speak, check back regularly for upcoming events.

As of this post (11/4/10), my fiber art work can be seen at the following location(s):

Bravo! office, 5th floor, BB&T building, downtown Asheville
Strength from All My Roots – An Exhibition of Textile Arts  Honoring the Legacy of Pauli Murray. I’ve got two pieces, a liturgical stole and one of my quilted wall labyrinths (everybody’s favorite, it turns out) in this show in Durham It’s going on now, through November 30th, 10-am-4pm, at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 403 E. Main St., Durham, with a reception on Friday, November 19th, from 6-9pm. Alas, I probably will not make the reception.

Sometime in early 2011, my work will be featured in Quilt Life magazine; stay tuned for more info.



One game is currently available:

Friday evening/Saturday, January 7/8.

I am offering these games along with Bonnie Cooper, LCSW, relationship coach and certified imago relationship therapist. Although the underlying focus of these games is to rediscover joy in oneself and one’s relationships (be they with others, oneself, or God/Spirit), the Game can be played with any intention. Please email ( or call (828-215-7424) for more information and registration.

Watch for information about the re-booting of the ongoing, monthly Asheville dream group.

Please contact me at for more information about any of these events.

A Joy-ful Offering – Re-ignite delight via the Transformation Game

Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2010
I won’t say much about the game now; you can check it out for yourself at: But one of the things I love about the game is its noncompetitive nature. Whether played solo, or with companions, each person has their own path and, depending on their playing focus, sometimes has lots of interaction with their playing companions, and sometimes not. Although participants usually select their playing focuses completely independently, the games can be played with an overall focus, such as cultivating joy. And this is what I am offering now:
Have you lost your ability to access your joy? Have you lost the glow with a romantic partner? Do you find yourself behaving irritably in one or more of your relationships? Consider playing the Transformation Game, alone or with someone close to you, to re-ignite your joy, passion, delight. This version of the game is regularly available in Asheville, NC and is occasionally available in Madison, WI, Duluth, MN, or the Twin Cities, MN. If you aren’t located in one of these areas, joy coaching is available via phone or e-mail. Please contact Laurel at
(If you’d like to get a sense of the game, check out Intuitive Solutions at:


Posted on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
  • Make regular play dates with yourself to do one of those things you are always too busy to do but which you really enjoy.
  • Do something similar to the things you most enjoyed as a child. (For example: if you liked making up stories, try writing or storytelling. if you liked banging on pots and pans, take a drumming workshop. if you liked playing dress-up, go try on some clothes, just for the fun of it.)
  • Imagine every cell in your body as a happy face, giggling.
  • Quit listening to/reading your usual news sources. (Try this for 1 week; this includes “Women’s magazines.”)
  • Check out positive news sites, such as:
  • When you feel irritated by someone, search for something you appreciate about them instead.
  • Remember the “glow” from when you first met your current partner? Come from that space the next time you see them.
  • Look for things to smile or laugh about, remembering that the joy comes from within you.


Posted on Friday, December 11th, 2009


I’m sure you’€™re wondering what that means. One of my “mentors,” Abraham, says you must “make a decision that you’re going to be happy one way or another – no matter what. –  But if you are relying on the external world to make this possible, you are coming at it from the wrong direction. The happiness comes from within you, and is then radiated to the world around you. I invite you to take this challenge which I recently gave to a client who was one of the least happy people I had ever met: Each day, come up with one thing that you are happy about. The first few times she really struggled with this, but within a few weeks she was coming into the office enthusiastic and excited to share what she was happy about that day, and each day the list got longer. Now, the things in her life, and in the world, hadn’t changed – she was the one who had changed; at my urging, she had decided to try bringing a different attitude to how she lived her life. Interestingly, as she got more skilled at this, her world DID change; very quickly there was more of what she really wanted in her life, things which hadn’t been there when I first suggested the practice.

A Delightful Concert

Posted on Monday, November 23rd, 2009

I recently attended a concert by one of my favorite singer-songwriters (Peter Mayer) and had a huge smile on my face from beginning to end. I kept the glow with me through the rest of the evening and was still radiating it the next morning, but I allowed it to fade when I went to work. Then, during a challenging interaction, I remembered the concert, and the glow, and brought that forward once again into the current situation. Suddenly I was smiling, and things began flowing more easily. Whenever you get into a funk, recall a time when you felt joyous and bring that feeling forward with you. And check out for some delightful music.