manifest joy

Yesterday I came across the blogger/intuitive/counselor Amy Oscar through Twitter (are there really people who don't twitter?). I spent some time on her gorgeous website and was sort of emotively taken in by what I heard her saying. She sparkles with a kind of essence and vulnerability that touches me on many levels. I find myself in an interesting place creatively, sort of between phases, as I attempt to launch a writing career and build a ceramic art career at the same time. I'm filled with apprehension and trepidation, not least because our B&B season ends this week, and I am tired. I understand the need to recuperate from the fatigue of having worked hard before being ready to move forward.

But when the hard-core exhaustion is behind me, what do I do first? How do I proceed? I feel overwhelmed by the tasks I have set out for myself, while being at the same time so exhausted by the work I've done in the past seven months.

All of this made Amy's words coming into my world at this particular moment so poignant.

"Listen to the overwhelm. Seek to know it, to see it. What IS this overwhelm? What has it come to show you? Let the overwhelm reveal the places where you feel afraid of change. What feels too precious to lose? If you think of the overwhelm as a rising tide of energy, like water, what parts of your life feel vulnerable to the oceanic surge that’s trying to push its way toward you? Where do the levees of your life need shoring up?"

I thought about this for a good while yesterday. It is a lot, trying to put your best work out there every single day as a creative person. And it's risky to have people look at your work and criticize it. What overwhelms me is where will this all lead? Do I have the courage to continuously put it out there, shoulder the critics, and keep going, staying true to who I am and what I know to be my own personal truth?

That's my overwhelm.

Amy  moderates what she calls #soulcall, a Twitter chat that takes place on Sundays between 10 and 11 am EST. You use the hashtag #soulcall on your tweets and that puts you in a community of people discussing soul-related issues, with Amy asking questions and supporting the general discussion.

I participated in this chat yesterday and an interesting revelation about myself came towards me like a Mac Truck barreling down the interstate. During the chat, I tweeted something about how to obtain joy.  Amy tweeted back something to the effect of:  interesting choice of words - is joy obtainable?

And of course, I knew the answer is no.  Joy isn't something you can go get like a Gucci bag or a wheel barrow. And for some reason, the idea of that made me sad, partially because I know better, but more because I have the bad habit of missing out on joy - believing that it's unobtainable - when I want to be wallowing in it.

After the chat, I went into my studio and meditated for a good long while and I had some clear realizations about joy and my life. This is what I came up with: while joy, in all of its manifestations, is not something obtainable, it's something that you, I, everyone has available to us if we're in a place where we can recognize it.

While it's hard, surprisingly so, for me to recognize joy, I am able manifest it. I manifest it when my pottery wheel is flying at full speed and I pull up on the clay and a perfect cylinder results. I manifest it when I write a paragraph that comes from a place inside of me that I don't even realize exists until I go back to the paragraph and think, did I really write that? Where did that come from?  

I'm ready to open up and let myself feel those moments as the joyful manifestations that they are.

Those moments are my out-of-myself-and-streaming-the-eternal moments. But, I realized yesterday, those are not the only ones. I have many more, but it is up to me to feel those moments as joyful, as the moments of pure love that they are. The minute my husband touches my hand when we walk. When my dog lifts his paw, asking me to remove a thorn and scampers away after a rabbit. The second that someone looks at something I've made and says, oh I just love that! 

me, busily manifesting joy.  photo by julia russell

My stubborn ego used to call those kinds of moments waiting for the other shoe to drop moments. But I'm learning. The other shoe doesn't always drop. And even if it does, its dropping takes nothing away from any single solitary moment of joy in life.

Joy stands independent, and can be savored as such.

Sometimes I can be very ego driven. I worry that I am doing all of this creative development but it's not going to have a big payoff. You know what I mean. I don't want my creativity to be money-dominated but it would be nice at sometime if this investment I've made in honing my crafts would really effect a dividend.

Then my soul butts in and says, "Oh shut up and keep going. You love doing all of these things. Just keep going. Whatever's going to happen is going to happen."

My soul takes the joyous moments as the big payoff and waves its hands in the air in delight, while my ego shakes its head, its arms folded.

How do you manifest joy in your life?  

Is it easy for you to recognize joy?  I hope it is, because joy is another expression of love that we have at our disposal to make our lives full and complete.

Learning to recognize joy is part of my path that I am ready to venture down. It's something I'll keep working on, because it's an important core part of soulful, simplistic, creative living.