On Finding Joy in the Age of Trump…

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On Finding Joy in the Age of Trump …

Each morning my head has its exercise. I hang my head in shame; I shake my head in bewilderment of what our country has become; I close my eyes in hope. I tell myself that despair is not an option, that I must summon energy from somewhere to make my voice heard, although my staunch Republican senators and representatives toe the party line, and I live in such gerrymandered districts, both state and national, that I realize that my comments, my votes, will be lost in the netherworld of the minority.

And sometimes I must look for joy. Most mornings I find it in my cats, who sit quietly with me as I read the paper, write in my journal. Some days, they climb into my lap, both of them, and take part in my 10-minute meditation.

This past week, we celebrated their fifteenth birthday. (I’ll save you googling – that is 77 in human years.) They are brothers and have never spent a day away from one another. Like all of us, they have their squabbles, but most days you can find them only feet apart.

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We celebrated their Cat Mitzvah two years ago; this year, they had a Quinceneara celebration. They appeared unimpressed, even when offered crumbs from their cake. But we humans, we celebrated. For we must take our joy where we find it.

http://www.cynthiastrauff.com

 

Gratitude and Joy: Compare and Contrast

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Gratitude and Joy:  Compare and Contrast

Gratitude – who in this life could not, should not, be grateful – even in the horrendous political climate we are enduring. The suggestions, admonitions, about gratitude, about keeping a gratitude journal, about simplicity, well, who would not agree with them? So much to be grateful for – and I honestly do spend most of my hours in a state of gratitude – for (some of) my family, my friends, my health, for having “enough,” and most of all, for the freedom of my days.

Freedom – to do what I want, when I want, to set my own schedule and be responsible for following or not following it. It has been years since I left the world of paid employment – and there has not been a day since when I have not breathed a deep sigh and paean of “thank you, universe, for this sovereignty.” It was not until I experienced it that I realized how fettered I had been for way-too-many years. It was a bondage that I had freely accepted, indeed, had sought out and believed was what I wanted, a way to prove myself, mainly to myself.

And then the veil was lifted, the clouds parted, and I found this life – late, but not too late. Gratitude, you bet. And a sense of enough – enough money, enough time, and (almost) enough love. Gratitude – absolutely.

Which brings me to joy, a quality that had not been my strong suit.

Ah, joy – to experience that unrestrained, free, soaring spell (for to me it is a spell – a good one) if only we open ourselves to it. Joy in its purest form, without the Puritan/Catholic/Jewish shackles of “you’d better be grateful for this and if you’re not, you’ll pay the price.” Just plain joy, without gratitude.

Whoa…. surely some severe consequence will befall me – this sunrise, can I just experience it, let it touch my heart, without a voice inside, sometimes quiet, sometimes more insistent, that declares – “this is a gift, be grateful, remember this for your entry to your gratitude journal”?

I know that joy is a gift, which I exuberantly receive with no chains or laces. And the more I open my eyes to it, the more it seems to appear. And do I ever love that no-strings-attached thing-y.

The universe conspired to send me back to an old friend, Abigail DeWitt, a wondrous writer and teacher who has been a muse and inspiration to me for several years. It is she, via her Write to Heal course, who opened my eyes and heart to joy. Even more thanks to you, Abigail.

I’ll end with a joyous commercial for her – learn about her and her programs on her website: abigaildewitt.com. You may wind up entering that into your gratitude journal….

Another Sunday, http://www.cynthiastrauff.com