Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What brings me joy? Lenten Journey 2017

Erzulie's Arsenal by Renee Stout. 2013
mix media wood.  Haley Institute of Contemporary Art
"Let us dance in the sun, wearing flowers in our hair." 
~ Susan Polis Schulz. 

“There are random moments - tossing a salad, coming up the driveway to the house, ironing the seams flat on a quilt square, standing at the kitchen window and looking out at the delphiniums, hearing a burst of laughter from one of my children's rooms - when I feel a wavelike rush of joy. This is my true religion: arbitrary moments of of nearly painful happiness for a life I feel privileged to lead.” ~  Elizabeth BergThe Art of Mending

Lent is here and spring is right around the bend.  I can feel the sharp winter winds at my back and the warmth of spring rains on my face.  The trees are beginning to bud up and the birds are back (earlier than usual). 

As you are aware, I look at the Lenten season differently.  Lent is not about giving up.  It is about creating sacred space for reflection and for putting my life in order.  Okay, giving-up things that are barriers between MotherFather Spirit and me.  This space gives me time to face these barriers straight on.  A good Spring Cleaning of my soul. 

This past week I read this great blog by writer Candice Benbow.  Benbow poses the following questions she intends to reflect on during Lent: "What makes you feel alive? What brings you joy? How do you need to be reminded that God wants you to flourish? Might I suggest answering these questions and leaning into some of the answers over the next 40 days."  

I have reflected on many questions, but joy, not so much. What does it mean to have joy as a woman?  I plan on exploring these questions too and I invite you to come with me on my springing into spring journey.

Beethoven Symphony 9, IV Movement "Ode to Joy"


Exercise: What Brings Me Joy? 
Over the next 5 days write a list using free writing for 10 minutes.  Whatever comes to your head, write it down.  Write whatever needs to be written.  Just keep it moving.  (Below is my daily writing.  Note your ideas will be different.

What brings me joy? I like going to a movie. Going to foreign films to learn about different cultures - traveling two hours to another place for $8 - $10.  Meditation. Yoga. Singing. Running. Going up stairs and not getting winded. Driving with the window down and feeling the wind go through my fingers.  Forgetting the ill and pains of the world one moment. Green grass. Sitting on the beach and listening to the waves. Listening to the birds in the morning. The beginning sun change in February.  A candle with a faint scent of bergamot flickering on my table as I write.
This brings me joy.
A tiny baby reaching out. Eating with my entire family--surrounded. Just listening to stories like how my uncle had a gas station and how famous people came to it driving from Detroit or Chicago to Cleveland. Chicken farm stories.  Painting. Sewing. Knitting.  My friends - even when I'm not so great of a friend.
What brings me joy?
I like running and the after run feeling. I like to escape into the land of reading.  I like gardening. I like sewing. I like writing. I like eating.  I like cooking.  I like hiking.  I like having a clean home.  I like dancing. I like the arts.  I like doing things with my hands.  I like creating.  Lighting a candle. A sunbeam. Seeing my cats sit and snooze in the sunbeam.  The sun through leaves and seeing the veins and the lightening of the leaves.  Red and blue glass and holding a piece of pink quartz and feeling it vibrate.  Watching my cat wash her face the way the sun lightens her black coat. Sunny cloudless blue sky days. Forsythia bending in spring winds.  Almond croissants full of butter and crispy. Crunchy popcorn.  Chocolate mint ice cream.  Smell of spring.
This is what brings me joy.
Morning quietness.  PBS.  Dancing and twirling.  Walking long distance.  Dinner.  Good egg breakfast.  Traveling. Prague. Glastonbury. Luca. Frankfort. Kyoto. Picasso.  Dali. Art museums. Painting with oils and feeling the smoothness of the brush across the canvas. Having my toes painted.  
These things give me joy...
Flamenco, science, mysteries, finishing up a creative project, guitar, piano - Beethoven, Chopin, listening to music, flowers, growing things from seeds, learning something new, Z, T, my cats, my family, my friends, 
Joy Joy Joy
A rainy day for reading, freedom to travel, freedom to become what I want to become, my house, my bed, my sofa, my computer when it is happy and moving face, ocean, SOF, my writing group, Lake Erie and watching a storm come in. Things run smoothly like butter cream frosting. Pie.  Coconut Cream Pie made with coconut milk.  Chocolate.   Tres Leche Cake.  Baking my Aunt Sue's cardamom bread.  Dancing with friends.  Lunch and a good book.  Lunch with girlfriends.  Out with girlfriends.