Posts Tagged ‘Joy’


Posted on Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

To my utter delight, since I’ve lived in my current location, the meadow on the other side of the creek from me has always been the winter home for several horses. I was afraid this year might be different, since the meadow had been cultivated and, as of yesterday, the horses still weren’t here. Today I had the thought: the best Christmas present I could get would be for the horses to return. Less than half an hour later, as I was leaving the house, I looked up and was stunned to see the horses. A grin formed, and stayed on my face for the next half hour, and my heart was filled with joy.

My Kind of Happy

Posted on Friday, June 1st, 2012

My main style of happy (#2) is going into my studio and playing with fabric and color and emerging several hours later, wondering where the time has gone. I also enjoy (#1) sitting on the patio of a favorite restaurant, sipping iced tea, reading and/or conversing with friends. And let’s not leave out #3, which shows up in my coaching/dream work, sharing the labyrinth with various groups (such as retirement communities), and helping older adults stay in their homes through Seniors Helping Seniors. If I can be of service to you or a loved one in any way, please let me know.

Three Types of Happy Lives

Posted on Friday, June 1st, 2012

Martin Seligman, leader of the positive psychology movement, recently gave a TED talk on three different types of happy lives:
1. The pleasant life is about gathering as many pleasures as possible
2. The engaged life is about doing that about which you are so passionate that time stops while you are doing it
3. The meaningful life is about using your core strengths to engage with something greater than yourself, often in service.
The first style provides pleasure as long as one is engaged in the pleasurable activities, but these often habituate and so, just like with drugs, require more and more of them while providing no long-lasting effects. The other two styles offer a depth beyond the momentary experience.
Look at the TED talk, check out Martin’s website, and contact me if you’d like some personal coaching on creating the style of happy life which best serves you at this time of your life.


The Joys of Cat Companionship

Posted on Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Many years ago I had two black male littermates, Castor and Pollux. Though no one else could tell them apart, I found them as different as night and day: Castor was bigger, more solid, had shorter hair, and was just like Eeyore; Pollux was smaller, rounder, had coarser hair, and was just like Tigger. But they were alike in one respect – when I fed them in the morning, one always finished before the other and asked to go outside. But when the other one finished and asked to go out, he would find his brother waiting for him on the stoop, not willing to go off on his adventures for the day until his brother had joined him. And when Castor died at the age of 16, Pollux did his best to follow him, and would have, if I hadn’t begged him to stay, which he did for another 3 years.
Since then I’ve had several cats join me – briefly – on my journey: Willow, Chiron, Luna, and Clive, none of whom looked or acted like Castor or Pollux. Clive went missing around Thanksgiving last year, leaving a hole in my heart, house, and life. On New Year’s Eve day, I found Trip, who is the spitting image of Castor and Pollux (as kittens), but otherwise resembles them in only 1 way – when I let him outside, he often waits there, hoping I will join him. Once I do, he will head off on his adventures for the day, coming back often during the day to check in with me.

First You Need Ashes – A Personal Story of (Joy-filled) Resurrection

Posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2012

On the day after Christmas, I went to work and, after working 2 hours of a 6 hour shift, I was called into the new manager’s office and told I was being suspended, for stealing. It would be another 2 days before I got the confirmation that I was ‘termed’  (or, as I thought of it, ‘released’), but something told me that, no matter what, I wouldn’t be back. So after a moment of stunned panic/shock/anger, I went into action: I put everything from my locker into a bag, nearly danced out to my car, rolled down the windows, and sang my way home. (One of the tunes was ‘Riders on the Storm.’) I was thrilled to be absolutely free, for a few days at least, to do anything I wanted to do, and I immediately went into my studio where I quickly created a new line of fiber art. (See my Fiber DreamScapes at: *****) I did have this niggling little thought: How long will this last before ‘reality’ sets in? The universe began to answer this ‘prayer’ in a very interesting way.

Right around Thanksgiving, my solid, grounded 5 year-old cat companion, Clive, went missing, leaving a huge hole in my heart, my house, my life. On New Year’s Eve day, just 5 days after my suspension, two friends independently contacted me to say I should get to the Humane Society, because they were having a ‘sale.’ With just 2 hours to spare, I got to the H.S. and started looking for a cat like Clive. It took 3 times through before I spotted one of the last remaining kittens, a 3.5 month old black (my favorite) cat named Trip. And he has been a trip, as we now share this journey together. The first night we were together he initiated a game of fetch which lasted for an hour; his latest game is hide and pounce. Whenever I begin to feel scared or down, his enthusiasm for life, ebullience, energy, excitement, ecstasy remind me that I have a choice, and I keep choosing joy.

And as I do, the universe continues to respond: a quilt was accepted in Grovewood Gallery (which has quit taking quilts); I have several shows (some juried) scheduled; I have three speaking engagements scheduled; I am in an artist studio tour; and my signature ‘pieced/quilted labyrinths’ are to be featured in a national quilt magazine in June. Where will it all end? Nowhere, I hope, because I am living in heaven.

But I want to go back and tie up a loose end: the fact that I was suspended, and then ‘termed,’ for stealing. I have been vindicated in this matter but, since I do think about life metaphorically, I wondered and chewed on this for a while. “Have I been stealing?”€ I wondered. And the answer finally came to me that, yes, I had been stealing. . .from myself. By staying in a toxic environment, out of fear, I was stealing life energy and creativity from myself. Though it took a nudge, I stepped out into the void and energy literally flooded back into me; I am happier, healthier, and lighter now than I have been in years.

I’d like to close with this, the last stanza, from Robert Bly’s poem, Stealing Sugar from the Castle:

“You’re a thief!” the judge said. – let’s see
Your hands! –  I showed my callused hands in court.
My sentence was a thousand years of joy.

First You Need Ashes – A Personal Story of Joyful Resurrection

Posted on Monday, April 2nd, 2012

I’ll be speaking about my “release” from work on 12/26/11, and subsequent joyful “resurrection,” at Jubilee, 46 Wall Street, Asheville, on April 8th, Easter Sunday, at 8:30, 9:45, and 11:15. I hope to see you there. If you can’t be there, I’ll publish the text here in a couple of weeks.

What Dream Jobs and Impalas Have in Common

Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2012

My recent experiences (with being released from work, and dreams which pointed me to my new kitten companion) remind me of a client I knew who had an amazing dream that changed her life: I was riding around town in my father’s car. Doesn’t seem like much, but I asked her what kind of car it was: ‘A Chevy Impala’ Knowing that an impala was an animal, I encouraged her to look it up in an encyclopedia: “An animal able to leap great distances to avoid danger, but only if it can see where it is going to land.” This was, basically, her father’s motto: “Never quit one job until you have a new one lined up.”  She had been driving around in this car, this motto, even though her current job was sapping her energy, her strength, her joy for life. As soon as she read about impalas in the encyclopedia, she went and resigned, and within a couple of weeks she had her dream job. May we all be so blessed!

I Certainly Feel More Like I Do Now Than I Did Before

Posted on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Most rainbows look like they are coming to earth far away. A few years ago I saw one in Spring Green, WI, that seemed to be landing just behind the hill right in front of me. Last week (1/11/12) I saw a double rainbow in downtown Asheville; the inner, brightest one looked like it was coming down to earth just yards from me, as though I could step right into it. I feel like, since being ‘released’ from my job, I have stepped into the labyrinth of joy which is leading me directly into that rainbow. I am aware of increased energy, and others are commenting on it:  You’re more animated — You seem happier.  There’s something different about you definitely in a good way. I don’t know what’s next; only what is NOW, and NOW is pretty wonderful.

The Cat Who Thinks He’s a Dog

Posted on Friday, January 13th, 2012

I’ve been taking Trip outside on a leash (he’s too small and impulsive to let him go alone), and he acts like a Jack Russell terrier — leaping and straining against the leash, and pulling me along to a path in the underbrush where I have seen rabbits run. A far cry from the meditative walk I used to take in the labyrinth with other cats, primarily Willow. (See picture.) But I absolutely love Trip’s enthusiasm and energy, and use it as a reminder to engage that energy in myself whenever possible.

2012, The Year of the Labyrinthine Trip

Posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

What promises to be “The Labyrinthine Trip of 2012” actually began somewhere around Thanksgiving of 2011, when Clive, the cat, disappeared, leaving a huge space in my life. Another huge space was created when, on December 26th, I was released from my part-time job at a fabric store. Although I had thought I needed that job (for its salary, and its employee discounts, which fed that part of my life where I’m a fiber artist), in the moments immediately following my release, and ever since, I have felt quite ecstatic and grateful. I immediately took some time to rest and relax, and then think about how I wanted to fill that space which had been created. I’m still working on that, and will be using this blog to write about how this part of my journey develops. The next major development came on New Year’s Eve day, when two friends, separately, emailed me about discounted adoptions at the local humane society. I discovered I had only 2 hours left to take advantage of this and, although I thought that after nearly 2 full days most, if not all, of the cats would already be adopted, I took a shower and drove over. I began by looking for Clive look-alikes, and there were a couple, but both were too stressed out to be able to take them out of their cages. It wasn’t until my 3rd time through that I finally became aware of a 4 month old black male (my favorite type of cat) who was the spitting image of a former cat companion at that age. And his name was Trip! How could I not take him home with me, where he has brought in an energy I haven’t experienced in over 20 years—the kind of playful enthusiasm usually only exhibited by the youthful members of any species. He purrs incessantly, plays constantly, and brings one of his toys over to me when he wants interactive play. To put it succinctly, he is a trip, and I expect I am in for quite a ride this year, with Trip as one of my guides.