One day years ago, I was doing a reading for a client – I think at the Oktoberfest in Covington – for a negative, down, scared kind of person. Unthinkingly – that is, intuitively – I said she should make a list of 50 things that give her joy. Whether that would be the color pink, the fresh air of spring, pasta of some sort, a new car or skirt, friends – whatever.
As I thought about it later, it seemed like a great idea. I have said to many clients and friends since that they ought to make such a list. It serves to keep us focused on how we’re feeling right now, and focused on the positive – not that long list of stuff that isn’t working right in our lives. I’ve also suggested it different ways, mostlly depending on how it comes out of my mouth. Making a list of 50 items right now. Making a list of 1 new item per day, forever. A list about work, a separate one for family, a separate one for self. A list of how you want your life to be one year from today (that becomes a narrative treasure map).
All of these lists become statements of gratitude for what we have, and prayers / statements to Spirit of what we want in the future. Prayer is never quite the right word for me – the supplicant on her / his knees begging for something their poor little selves can’t supply, to this big powerful being way up high somewhere.
We’re also big powerful beings, co-creating with the both internal and external powers of the Universe (immanent and transcendent, to use the academic spiritual language). So for me, it’s not that begging, it’s more like a friendly negotiation with a friend over which movie to see, and where to sit when we arrive at the theater.
And the main reason we don’t have what we say we want is because we don’t believe we can / should have it. So all we really need is to get out of the way!
At any rate, having said ?You need a list of what gives you joy? to yet another client in the middle of October – in part, as a confidence builder, so she can see that she already has a great life that she wants to make better – I said to my wonderful self: ?You?ve never actually done this. I?ll bet it?s fun. Try it, you?ll like it!?
And so I have. I made the heading, ?What Gives Me Joy?, at the top of a piece of paper with a green lizard printed on the bottom – seems apropos of me, which is why I bought it in the first place. I made my first entry on October 23, with the simple statement ?Fall rain?, and was very faithful to the task in the beginning. It is right on the refrigerator door, and I would make my morning listing as I was waiting for the tea kettle to whistle.
(Note that the list should be some place where you see it often – like the inside of your clothes closet door. Sharing it with the world by putting it on the refrigerator is optional!)
Then one day, I had an early morning meeting, and decided I would do it later on. Which didn?t happen. Or the next day. I?m glad I never started dating each entry, so I can?t make myself feel guilty about skipping.
Other entries on the first page are: seeing the waning moon in the morning, grandson Patrick asleep in his bedroom, a wonderful cup of green tea, sunny fall days, ear candling and conversation. Today I made the last entry on that page – the joy of getting up early in the morning when all the world is still and dark, and writing.
I got a fresh page already up, same energetic green lizard down at the bottom, and can?t wait to see what I say tomorrow about all the joys in my life!