Thursday, June 11, 2020

Sparking Joy

Perhaps when you saw the title of today's blog post you might have imagined I would be writing about the ubiquitous Marie Kondo, the guru who suggests we spark joy by clearing and organizing our stuff. Only partly right. What I am writing about is sparking joy by stringing together a series of small moments of joy for the purpose of if not happiness, at least, contentment. Here’s what I mean:
  • On the side of my house I have a small container garden (cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, parsley). Each morning I go outside and commune with my little garden, sparking if not an entire salad, a moment of pure joy.

  • I read a cartoon, a cleverly written paragraph (say Anne Lamott or David Sedaris), or an absolutely laugh out loud page of dialogue in a novel, producing a moment of joy.

  • I eat a cherry (or a handful of cherries), so perfectly ripe and sweet I close my eyes and have a private, ecstatic moment of joy with my fruit.

  • I finally work through a huge accumulated pile of papers in my office and experience the sheer pleasure of seeing an empty space on the vintage wooden library table in the back of my office (so there, Marie Kondo).
These are difficult days; it is all too easy to become overwhelmed by the state of the world. I love this quote by Brenda Ueland: “I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten—happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.”

Take some time to find and string together your own moments of joy!

Please take very good care!

Susan Borkin, PhD is a psychotherapist, author, and speaker. A journal writing pioneer, she has specialized in the therapeutic use of writing since 1978.

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