Thoughts on: Joy (2)
From Jeannine Ouellette to Elissa Altman, here are incredibly wise nuggets on cultivating joy
Welcome to Thoughts On, a series of bite-sized, soul-nourishing insights from our time’s greatest heart-centered minds. Culled from my interview series, these are the can’t-miss excerpts on cultivating joy.
In each interview, I ask a version of the question: “Things are hard right now. Where are you finding joy?” Here are some of the responses:
Joy in being “mostly Love, now.”
“We have this little foster child who's been in our family since last August. There's so much joy in the presence of these babies and toddlers and preschoolers. Then there's also something larger than that, in watching the way that their presence has brought everyone else into their best selves. That’s bringing me a lot of joy.gave a graduation speech at Syracuse in 2013 and he quoted a poet, Hayden Carruth who, as he was dying, said that he was ‘mostly Love, now.’ I hope that I have another thirty or thirty-five years left to enjoy life on this planet. It’s getting to where I just value the sacredness of human relationships. It’s like in the beginning when you asked about home and without even realizing it what I was really talking about was relationships and community. I’m realizing that’s the end all be all for me.”
—[read Jeannine’s full interview]
Joy in walks and wonder
“Whenever big things are hard, and frankly, big things have been hard in my life and in the world, I remember the joys of each day and each moment. Can you feel a sense of wonder as you walk through your neighborhood and you see the beautiful flowers growing in your neighbor's yard? Can you feel that wonderful happiness when you get together with friends and share laughter or jokes or conversation? Or, in my case, every day walking with my dear husband, Brian, and having the conversations we have. And loving on my cats and my dogs and on my teenagers as often as they'll let me. Those are the things that have sustained me.”
—[read Cheryl’s full interview]
Joy in sharing meals
“In nature, in the kitchen, in cooking for people. We just had Mollie Katzen over for dinner last Sunday. She lives close to us now. We were social media friends for years and we instantly fell into this easy, joyful, laugh-filled conversation. And having meals with old friends, people who knew me when the world was safer. Being with my animals. And playing music because I've been a guitarist, at this point, for fifty-five years.”
—[read Elissa’s full interview]
Joy in cooking and dancing with friends / no joy in mosquitos
“I like to create joy on the page. But day to day, I can be pensive, serious, and wrapped up in my own head, especially when I’m writing. And I think I come off as distant, maybe even aloof at those times. So I guess I do have to cultivate joy. I do it by regularly connecting with friends, virtually or in-person, really connecting, no small talk, no bullshit.
Cooking for people also brings me joy. I haven’t done as much of it since the pandemic and since my book came out and now that I’m working on new projects. But even during the early days of the pandemic, I would cook things, wrap them up, and set them on my front porch for friends to pick up. Or I would drop off baskets of warm biscuits from scratch with jam. Playing board games, card games, and watching movies also bring me joy. As does being near water. Lakes, ponds, beaches…water soothes and delights me. I also enjoy taking long nature walks, especially in fall. Mosquitos ruin summer for me. They do not spark joy! Pre-pandemic, going out dancing with friends brought me lots of joy too. Now I dance a lot in my kitchen when I’m cooking.”
—[read Deesha’s full interview]
Joy in nature and time with family
“I feel more connected to nature and this fragile planet. I'm saying this looking out the window at the most magnificent fall colors. The trees and meadow in this golden hue. My family is bringing me tremendous joy. I feel very fortunate that during the pandemic we all came home from the different places we were and enjoyed one another. Who gets to have that kind of time with their grown child? He just graduated from college, and he's here a bunch of the time.”
—[read Dani’s full interview]
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