Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Recently I asked this question of my Twitter and Facebook friends.
What if your life’s purpose were simply “Seek Joy”? Would you have the courage? How hard is it to release the negativity? Seek joy, y’all!
Can you begin to imagine it? Your life filled with joy. Laughter replacing the tears. Hope shoving out the negativity?
For me, my own personal negativity is an anchor. It holds me back from reaching the heights I know I can attain. I’m so human, y’all. I get mad for the silliest of reasons. I get my feelings hurt. I think the world is out to get me. Then I remind myself of a wonderful quote by Albert Camus.
“Gazing up at the stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.”-Albert Camus (1913-1960)
And it hits me. The Universe is not out to get me or anyone. The Universe is “benign indifference.” And I do not mean indifferent as in uncaring. I mean that the Universe does not differentiate between me or you or Donald Trump or the homeless man on the street. The Universe makes things available. We have to avail ourselves of that availability. Can I say “avail” one more time? HA!
Consider this. A banquet is laid out before you. You can eat any of it. It is all exactly what you like and need. But you hesitate. Negativity creeps in. What if this is some version of candid camera and someone is watching how silly you look when you eat (can you tell I dislike eating in public?). What if there is something wrong with the food? What if. What if.
What if a banquet was offered to us every day and not one of us ever even nibbled? Another quote I love is from one of my favorite movies “Mame.” I love the Lucille Ball version but Rosalind Russell will always be Mame for me. She says to her nephew Patrick, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” The line is actually from the stage play and not the book. In the play, Mame proclaims,”Life is a banquet and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death.” Either way… are you taking the joy from life and nourishing yourself with it?
I have claimed Professional Joy Seeker as my new job title. To that end, every day I am intentionally noticing joy in my life. It can be so small. A friend’s laugh. A co-worker’s accomplishment. The way a fresh muffin bursts with flavor. Or in laughing at your own foibles. Recently I was late for my day job. I was late because I moused around on the computer instead of leaving on time. Totally my fault. But suddenly it was THEIR fault. Right? Because THEY were driving the speed limit and minding the rules of the law, I was going to be late.
Then it hit me. I was being a haint. A haint is a rebellious child acting out. The word “haint” is actually from “haunt” and also means a poltergeist type ghost. Yep, a haint! It was my own actions that caused me being late. Once I started laughing at myself, I found a bit of joy in that. I am of the belief that if you can’t laugh at yourself, you are a big ol’ doodoo head. Hee!
When I started working on this spread, my first rendition only had five questions. This one still only has five questions, but there are actually six.
Still with me?
The first position is “What is joy to me?” and it is position 0. Yes, zero. As in the Fool who wanders from beginning to end and back again. What better representation of joy than this character? Here you explore what joy really means to you. I can hear you now.
“ARWENNNNNNNNNNNNN! I got Death as my zero card!”
Well, okay, that’s a hard one, right? Or is it? Death represents change, right? Maybe you are one of those mercurial Gemini types who revel in change. They can feed off the ever-present multi-tasking that life represents.
Free your mind. Lose the negativity. That’s really important. Joy is like a hummingbird. If you are constantly in a stormy, unhappy place, joy will fly elsewhere.
The actual first card asks “Where do I find joy the easiest?” SO that’s pretty much a gimme. Isn’t it? Why am I hearing that voice in my head saying,
“ARWENNNNNNNNNNNNN! I got the 4 of Cups!”
Okay so you got a card of despair and loneliness and depression for where you find joy the easiest. Ummm, maybe the Universe is telling you that you enjoy being depressed? Look! I am saying this because I used to be that person. I used to be down all the time. So maybe it’s a nudge to stop enjoying being sad? Or on the other hand, maybe you excel at helping others move away from those sad, lonely spots and you find joy in that.
You have to examine things with an open mind and an open heart.
Now the second card is “Where must I work to find joy?” Here is where I would expect a 4 of Cups or a 10 of Swords. Conversely, what if you get a really happy card like the 10 of Cups? Again, consider all the angles. For me the 10 of Cups could show up because I sometimes get tangled up in being happy for my friends in loving relationships and feeling sorry for myself. LOL So I can see where I might have to work to find joy in the 10 of Cups. Make sense?
Okay, the next question is “What do I allow to block my joy?” Ouch, right? Because this isn’t “what is blocking my joy”. It is what am I doing to block my joy. Some days I just hate self-responsibility, don’t you? But there it is. This is the card that forces us to face how we stand in our own way as we try to achieve joy.
Let’s look at the next to last card, okay? This one asks, “Who should I watch to learn more about finding joy?” Here is where we can find our JOY mentor. Everyone of us has someone in our life who can teach us something about how to find joy. Maybe you are a parent with three kids who keep you so busy you can not even stop to tie your own shoe. Look at the children. Find out how they let joy in their life. Or ask a friend who seems to be chipper all the time. “How do you do that?”
And believe them when they answer. For years, I practiced something I learned from a therapist. Fake it until you make it. Literally smile when you do not feel like smiling. Be happy when you do not feel like being happy. Fake it until it becomes a part of who you are.
I love this parable. Two young boys — twins — were studied. One was always negative. The other one equally positive. The researchers decided they would set the boys up in a situation where the negative one would have no choice but to be positive and vice versa for his brother.
Two rooms were set up. The negative boy was put in a room full of wrapped presents and told they were all for him. The positive boy was put in a room full of horse manure and told nothing. When the researchers came back, they were astonished.
The negative boy was unwrapping presents and tossing them aside as he muttered, “This one is no good. That one is the wrong color. I’ll bet this is a trick.” The positive boy was laughing gleefully digging through the piles of poo exclaiming, “I know there’s a pony in there somewhere.”
Our joy is in our hands. It is in how we perceive our world and our selves. Do you talk down to yourself? Do you secretly call yourself names? You draw that energy to you when you do. This is one of my personal hardest battles. I am 48 years old and have spent a lifetime calling myself names — fat, inadequate, broken. You name it. I probably called myself worse. So it is a daily ritual for me to look myself in eye in the mirror and remind myself that I am a gorgeous woman with a great sense of humor and a talent–no, a passion for writing. You need to be your own publicist.
For the final position, I use a version of a question that is the final in many of my spreads. That is “What joy is the Universe gifting to me at this time?” It is a gift, my friends. It is a precious gift that you do not need to pay for or do anything for. Remember that smorgasbord Mame mentioned? This is the Universe picking something up off that table and handing it to you. You just have to reach out. Accept it for the gift that it is.
Hint: Right click and view image to see full size.
CONTEST ALERT: I will pull one name from all the comments on this post. So everyone who posts a meaningful comment by Saturday May 9, 2009 11pm will be in the running.