Own Your Own Joy

Joy is great.  Sometimes it eludes us as we overthink it or we put far too much pressure on ourselves and others around our expectations and the pursuit of joy.  Simple joys and lifelong passions are born and built when we don’t overthink things or try to be who we are not I feel.

We all react differently to different things. Some people love a good roller coaster some people would consider it torture. Damon loves the beach and could spend all day there, while I love a swim but the annoyance of sand everywhere after a frolic in the waves means I avoid the beach and tend to opt for forest bathing instead. My daughter loves crafting and crocheting while paying attention to painstakingly detailed patterns. The idea of following instructions for fun is laughable to me. Laughable, actually even thinking about it kinda stresses me out. Equally annoyed/stressed by sodoku, lists, or re-organising a linen cupboard. All of which are things that I know for a FACT bring people I know and Love joy. Weirdos. Just saying.

The point I am trying to make is that we are all unique beings.  My idea of heaven on earth and the happiest place I can think of is actually a Star Trek cruise.  Surrounded by fun, quirky, kind, and often traumatized (through bullying and harrowing life experiences) neuro diverse people like me.  It is the only week on earth I feel genuinely free to be myself without judgement and find almost everyone else on the ship fascinating and fabulous.  A Star Trek convention would probably be perceived as punishment to many of my neuro typical friends.

Finding what sparks our joy doesn’t have to be an exhaustive search.  Really embracing things that excites you, despite whether or not other people think it is cool or worthwhile is a step toward holistically living your best life.  If you like plants and gardening, every time you engage in these activities or actively seek communities who share your passion is building you a narrative and creating a community for you to find and feel joy and belonging.  

Conversely, if you are forever finding reasons not to pursue and embrace the things that you actually like, because you are too busy doing the things you think you should, your soul starts to shrivel up like a prune.  You don’t need to be a prune you are way better off being shiny and sparkly and satisfied instead of trudging through daily grinds doing things because you think you should, rather than enjoying the magic you could if you got really brave and honest.  

Today’s blog I am gonna give us both some homework.  Pop on a timer and brain storm a list of things that actually spark joy in you and write down as many as you can think of in two minutes.

Ready… steady… GO!  

Here’s my list:

  • My asshole cat with three legs who never catches any birds and I worship even though he is… well, an asshole. His beautiful sweet tabby brother brings me joy too.
  • Geeking out over soil health, EV, and clean tech advances and finding amazing plants and animals thriving on the farm where we are blessed to be Kaitiaki
  • Having a good sweary rant with my goddesses about the state of the world. We talk about ideas and plan world domination rather than get weighed down just gossiping about boring people and talking about boring things
  • Nature … just a huge fan of soil and birdsong and this week I am OBSESSED with the baby bananas we have planted.
  • NOT dealing with emotional/social/general vampires
  • Alone time with the spunky monk
  • Hiding from society for days on end and turning off all my devices and embracing a digital detox
  • Memes that Jane/Debs/Ben and others post. So good.
Benedict Cumbercat and his doting mamma (me)

Kay that was a little over two minutes… But actively writing down a few things that fill me with joy was helpful as a kinda gratitude journal exercise, but also has me thinking about hundreds of other little things that bring me huge joy.  Laughing in the kitchen with the kids.  Deep chats with Stephanie and feeling so proud of the fierce and funny goddess she is.  Hugs.  Oof I do LOVE hugs, only from my inner circle though clearly.  

So the next step on this homework assignment for both of us is this.

Just make sure you engage in something that brings you joy.  I’ve already patted my asshole cat, am currently writing, and have actively shut down an interaction with a dipshit dunning krugered up dork who thinks he’s far cooler than he actually is.  Feels good to walk away from dipshits.  I know not everyone can, and we all have to deal with some vampires in life.  I’ve also scrolled a little bit and lolled at some memes.  Tonight I will enjoy dinner at harbourside restaurant with my beloved future husband and spunky monk and keep my phone in my purse the whole time… unless I look fire… then all y’all are getting a cute pic on the Instagram cause sometimes that sparks joy too.

So that’s the blog.

Hope you are sparkly today.

Thanks for reading.

Where’s Your Head At?

Woof. How you doing? We are on the home stretch toward the end of a rather harrowing year, so I thought I’d take minute to drop a few lines on the screen and check in with you.

My long suffering sweetheart and I hamming it up at dinner with the kids last week

School holidays was a lot for those of us who embarked on the dizzying and chaotic journey of parenthood. The uncertainty and pace of change has been tough for the kids, and different family cultures seem to be managing things very differently.

Our family choose laughter and a lot of somewhat nihilistic truth bombs. The kids and their friends are feeling the energy of precariousness and change as it is all around them. I won’t lie and tell them everything is going to be okay. Nobody knows what is next. The only thing we actually have any control over is how we choose to act and react to things. Reacting with grace and bravery seems to come quite naturally to these quirky kids though so that’s good. I don’t have many answers, and I suspect their parents and teachers are equally at a loss when it comes to offering helpful advice or guidance in these very strange times. All I can provide is a safe and consistent place for them to air their concerns, as we set aside our daily sacred journey to and from school where nobody has to be brave or stoic. We just jostle over who gets control of the playlist and everyone gets a turn to air things that may be of concern to them that day or in general. Laughter is our therapy on the school run, and it is a safe place for all of us and the soundtrack changes daily.

Driving the kids around in LOLGAS is a huge part of my life journey atm.

The Election. We voted over the weekend, and my only observation is probably: “What. The. Actual. Fuck.” My faith in democracy has been shaken an awful lot in recent months, but I am quietly optimistic that NZ is going to continue on a trajectory or hope and sustainability. We aren’t perfect, but my tribe and I feel absolutely blessed to be safe and sound here on these shaky but unquestionably safer-than-most-places-on-earth-right-now isles.

Has anyone else noticed there’s a plethora of divorce and separation hovering around in the world lately? This could well be an acute case of Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, as my own long-overdue divorce seems to be dragging on and on and the uncertainty is quite frankly paralysing. I am certainly not the first, won’t be the last to be on this journey. Hugs to anyone else floating around in the process or the aftermath.

Social anxiety. Not sure where you’re at as it seems some people have loved some seclusion and others have struggled with isolation and feelings of loneliness or being trapped in bad or joyless situations in their bubble. I carry a lot of mixed feelings as the pandemic gave me an opportunity to get off an incredibly painful roller-coaster of busyness and seeking validation. I Loved, trusted, and supported too many, too often, too easily, and too much and struggled with boundaries for years. My last breakdown came about the same time as Covid, and was the perfect opportunity to say: “Fuck this shit I’m out.” to the vast majority of, well, everything. It’s a privileged position indeed to have that option. The reality for far too many people all over the world is that they are incredibly vulnerable to the changes thrust upon us all. It’d be callous and crass of me to force my ideologies of seclusion, self-sufficiency and growth on anyone as not everyone is privy to the same options as me. To be quite frank that seems to be the problem. Inequality and struggles are not fairly distributed among us in this life. The conflict and conundrum of being comfortable, white-privileged, and socially conscientious is and was a constant internal battle. I’m not certain of many things, and don’t have any solid answers for myself, the kids, or anyone else, but I do strongly believe positions of privilege come with a responsibility to give a fuck about social and environmental issues. How any person goes about being the change they want to see in the world without being chewed up and spat out by opportunists and assholes is a bit of a mystery to me personally at this time. So in my safe bubble surrounded only by the very small tribe I allow near me is where I’ll be for the foreseeable future. Wherever you are I wish you joy and comfort and safety on your journey, especially if you are brave enough to be fighting the good fight and making yourself vulnerable in the process. And, if you are just hiding in your bathrobe putting on a few extra pounds and healing from a rough ride up until this point, that’s actually fine too. Be kind to yourself and surround yourself with kindness from others. We are all just trying to figure this shit out.

The media. Oof. The fucking media. It’s not what it was and we’re sent down some serious rabbit holes as we scroll through the abyss. There’s echo chambers and trolls and fake news OH MY! I implore you to turn it off from time to time, and take those you love offline as well. Our best option, whether we have chosen the red or the blue pill, is just to focus on what we can manage and being amazing in little and real ways by smiling at strangers, offering a kind word, checking in with someone, planting things, fixing things, or whatever it is that brings you joy, well, that’s our best hope now and was leading up to where we sit on this surreal timeline today. Be a good person. You know when you are, and it feels pretty good to honour that so get out there and feel free to get a little smug if you’re getting your grace on out there IRL.

There’s more I wanted to yarn with you about, but I am growing weary of waffling and I suspect my full-on train of thought style of blabbery jabber might be tiring you out a bit too after this collection of thoughts and tangents.

Wherever your head is at, be gentle with yourself. You’ve been through a lot. We all have. Kia Kaha.

Thank you for reading.