What’s sparking joy?

img_3782  Before we pitched the tents in the backyard for practice, heck, even before August started, I had some moments of reckoning. Apparently I am a thick-headed student of the creative life. I’ve written several times about finding creative space in life, but I lost track again of my top ten (would this be on my top ten list of how I should be spending my time?) this summer. It was time to stare out into summer evenings and think about why I was feeling stressed and grumpy because when mama ain’t happy…well, you know how that goes.

I blamed my feelings of being rushed on the constant shuffling of family schedules and driving kids around and the sense of not getting things done on mosquitoes and the rain that fed a million weeds. Let’s be real. Leaky faucets, uncooperative caulk, drainage problems during heavy rains: the Yarnstead home has as many of those things as most 50-year-old houses. Aiming for balance requires constant adjustment. I get big plans, push myself to do more than is possible, and then bleh, stress becomes a more constant companion than creativity.

I didn’t think about how I’d felt that way in the past and what I’d done to feel better. Blaming is a waste of time; it keeps you from noticing all that you got done, gratitude, and  the therapeutic power of weeding (really! visible accomplishments, hands in the dirt, breeze on your face). So, how to get back to that top ten, how to recapture the focus I came back from Alaska with last year?

Think about what’s sparking joy. Yes, that reference is from from a KonMari-ing friend (thanks, J!),  but for me it’s not just about decluttering stuff. I will not be so busy. Do less, and don’t get stuck doing things because I’ve always done it that way or haven’t found time to think through what I really want to spend time on. Notice that you often do have enough time. Then follow it up with 4-5 days away from home, preferably away from electronics and out in the woods or at the shore. Soak up the restorative power of nature, and come home recommitted to your goals.



4 thoughts on “What’s sparking joy?

  1. Melinda Gustafson Gervasi

    I felt the same way this summer, and think it was the lack of routine that threw me off balance. That and taking on way too many projects. With the return of school I declared my time for work, healthy pursuits (cooking, hikes, etc) and family. I’ve told myself the kids are in their beds at 8pm, and me by 8:30….allowing much needed time to simply read before the lights go out and my 5:30am alarm rings. So far, life is better, but this summer was unsettling. May your Alaskan clearness return; oddly, I leave Bayfield with something similar.

  2. Oh, I have so many thought about your ideas and “I Refuse to be Busy” and “Sparking Joy” that I have a draft of a blog entry. I was wondering of you wanted to do a bit of a response/reply/conversation things across our two blogs. If you are finished thinking about these thoughts, don’t worry. And hey, were you in church yesterday. If you were, I missed you! See you soon, I hope. FUS or coffee?

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