Life in General Project: JOY

Finding Beauty

There are many ways one can appreciate BEAUTY.  To each individual, there will be a multitude of things (or people, or candies, or flowers) that they find “beautiful”.  Each of us has our own sense of beauty.  Everyone’s soul is affected by something different.  I find that music is one of the key factors for me.

Not one specific type of music…I tend to like all manner of different styles (except Jazz – just can’t wrap my head around that genre).  Some days I like to do housework to the widow rattling techno-dance beats.  Other days, I putter around the kitchen to metal such as Nightwish or TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra).

This morning’s Facebook feed happened to have a video clip of Sung Bong Choi on it.

If you are not familiar with him, he’s quite the Internet sensation.  A 22 year old orphan in Korea who decided that he loved to sing and made his way onto “Korea’s Got Talent”.

I would think that most folks are aware of the “talent” shows – American Idol, Canadian Idol, World Idol, Britain’s Got Talent, and so on…and if you take a moment to look at what’s going on there, you’ll see that there are some absolutely AMAZING talents being shown off to the world by way of televised competition.   The same can be said for Susan Boyle, Paul Potts and Kurt Nilsen.

Susan Boyle’s first BGT –

Paul Potts’ initial appearance on BGT –

Kurt Nilsen wins World Idol –

It’s the initial shock that really gets to you in these first tentative steps into fame – Susan Boyle, a cat lady and choir singer from a wee-little village that 99% of the world couldn’t find on a map.  Paul Potts, as Simon puts is “you did THAT”.  Kurt Nilsen, a plumber from somewhere in Norway belts out one of the world’s favorite songs.

For me, personally, it’s the raw power of their voices.  Being a bit of a popera (popular opera) fan I can sit and close my eyes and just let the strength of their music wash over me.  It’s also interesting to note, that if I happen to have a bit of their music on my mind when I trot off to work that the uplifting feel of the songs tends to stay with me all day.  I’ll wander through the store (at my day job) humming the tunes that I was listening to with my morning cup of Joe.

One of my favorite Facebook Pages is a group called BBW Wellness.  Here’s a bunch of girls that have banded together to love, support and encourage one another – regardless of their size.  As I was saying – beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Here’s interesting video – also from Korea’s Got Talent – that the girls at BBWellness had posted.  Her name is Park Jin Young  and she’s in high school….I did try to find one with English subtitles, but struck out.  Even though the commentary is in Korean, you will definitely get the message!

Park Jin Young – Korea’s Got Talent

Here’s another BEAUTIFUL thing.  Park Jin could hide from her size, she could crawl into a small vat of Baskin Robbins and stay there….but she doesn’t.  Someone, somewhere, somehow told her she was BEAUTIFUL and that little bit of self-esteem boosting information stuck.  Take a look at her now!

The base point in all of my video linking (with luck, I’ve given proper credit where it is due!!) is that you really NEED to take a couple of minutes every day and find something BEAUTIFUL.  It doesn’t really matter what it is.  You and your soul need it.  The cares, worries and day-to-day hangups that get in your way will simply disappear (if only temporarily) if you take the time to nourish YOU.

Coffee Moment

I happen to live where the skies are simply breath taking.  As I ventured outside for my morning smoke (yes, I know, eeewwww) this is what I happened upon today.

As I get ready for work (off to the day job today) this image will stay with me for the rest of day.  If I happen to have a rough few minutes with a customer, or my day just simply doesn’t go as planned, I’ll stop – take a deep breath – and relive this image from earlier.  It’s a very SMALL exercise in meditation, but it’s a little something that will remind me of the beauty that is everywhere.

So as you wander off through your day, remember to just take a few minutes, breathe and relive a beautiful moment.  It could be a particular song, it could be a particular image, it could be a very small moment that simply made you smile.  Hold on to the beauty of it – it will make your day.

Rational, Positive, Creative – always

Project: JOY

Facebook and personality quirks

There are many days that I get out of bed and just SIT in front of the computer staring at Facebook.  Since I’m not a big TV fan, I tend to keep up with friends and get most of my news there.  I don’t really see myself as an addict, but I’m pretty sure that in there somewhere is the little voice that says “check the feed, check the feed”.  News feed, that is.

I am still trying to absorb much of Lesson No. 1 of The Joy Within.  The personality type that I am (A-type Synergistic) tends to get hung up on details for some strange reason and forget (or avoid) other portions of the big picture.  Anyone that has ever undergone Myers Briggs Personality Testing will understand the chronic hangups of the different personality types.

There are SO many things that I want to do, need to do, long to do but can’t seem to find the time (or self discipline for that matter) to just sit this rather “wide load” down and simply get on with it!!

I have, however, decided to add Yoga to the project.  I won’t be tying myself in knots any time soon.  This is going to be a start small and work along from there sort of addition to project.  I have found the just sitting and attempting to meditate is plagued with pitfalls.  Ringing phone, needing to be at work, feelings of guilt over not having done enough work in the gardens or on the farm (Summerberry Organics).

Right now, I just know that these projects (blogs, farm, R & D gardens in town) are crucial to my purpose.  So I think the addition of a light bit of Yoga may be just the thing to bring my body and mind into a space of control and “mindfullness”.

Let’s see if I can control my own mind long enough to actually accomplish something, rather than just putter around in bits and pieces.

Project: JOY

Lesson No. 2 – Making it stick

I have found that actually TAKING the time to meditate and actually DOING it are two completely separate issues.  I have also discovered that hanging onto the JOY that comes with a 20-minute mind exercise is not only fleeting, but difficult to retrieve once you’ve allowed it to slip away.

For reasons that elude me, I always manage to find something else that is in need of doing.  Whether it’s chatting with cronies on the Facebook, catching up on Permaculture and other garden videos on YouTube or just minding the house in general, there seems to be a never ending stream of OTHER STUFF that needs attention.

This leaves me feeling scattered, less than organized, and rather irritated with myself for not completing what I set out to do.  Even now, I find the little voice in the back of my head is nagging me to hit the shower, get ready for work, return Brian’s e-mail, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…a never ending flow of brain chatter that drags me in 20 different directions.

It’s frustrating.

Back to the basics it is…I know what it is that brings me JOY.  So many things!!  How lucky is that?  Now to set up a schedule for ME that I can manage without feeling guilty.  I’ve come to understand that to SAY I need time for myself and to actually TAKE it are not as easy as I thought.  My A-type Synergistic personality keeps stirring up reasons to not do things for myself, but to look after everyone else.  And the really funny part?  I’m the FIRST person that will tell someone I’m talking to that it’s important they stay true to themselves – If you’re not strong and healthy yourself, you are of no value to someone else.  My favorite line – well, I guess it’s time I took my own advice.



Home Project: JOY

Lesson No. 1(B) – meditating…made easy!

Well, I did it.  I can’t say it was earth shattering, or a revelation, or even a minor hiccup in the cosmic makeup of all things important – but I did it.  With help.  I’m in NO way going to claim responsibility for having the wherewithal to have come up with something so simple, yet so profound.  I WILL spread the good news of this lady and her guided meditations for all the world to see (or at least those that happen upon these little bits of personal beaking off!)

A very nice lady by the name of Esther was kind enough to post a guided meditation video on YouTube.  I think I know my own brain well enough to understand that there was no way in hell I would be able to shut of my “brain chatter” long enough to do an effective first meditation.  I was quite correct.  My brain, well, has a mind of it’s own.

So now (get this, over a MONTH since I started this post) I’m going to sit down an re-visit Esther and her Chakra opening video and do it again.  Once again, I have allowed life in general to get in the way of my personal journey.  A strange habit and if you have any methods for better minding one’s own mind, please feel free to comment!


Life in General Project: JOY

Lesson 1(C) – The quest continues

Yet again, daily life has interrupted my personal journey.  I am the first one to admit that I tend to put EVERYTHING else ahead of my own personal progress.  I like to read quite a bit, and I do find that I tend to get reading, follow a link here or there on a subject of interest and the next thing I know three hours have passed and I’m nearly late for work (AGAIN!).  There are people that have labeled this affliction as “Tammy Time”, or relative time, or blamed Grandpa for it (he’s always fashionably late).  There’s times that I think there’s actually something wrong with my brain because organization (or lack thereof) seems to be a fleeting thing with me.

I have managed to continue reading bits and pieces of “The Joy Within”.  It actually stays in the bathroom (yes, lavatory laureate here) and I re-read bits and pieces of the first chapter over and over.  The lessons are actually starting to stick with me now.  If I need a moment of peace I can close my eyes and bring into a focus one of the items from my “JOY” list and within a couple of minutes, I feel re-balanced, centered, somewhat peaceful and quite happy.

There’s been a spring cleaning sort of feel in the air, and in digging through papers and associated crap in my home office I found a notebook.  Just a spring bound scribbler like school kids carry around.  I had completely forgotten it…I had started writing in it just about five years ago.  Wow, it’s hard to believe that it’s been THAT long since I made the decision to get happy again…the first entry was dated March 22, 2007.   A little over two years after my life took a dramatic turn…and a touch over four years since I’d decided to write about it.  Where has the time gone??

I think that’s the organization bug rearing it’s ugly head again.  Lack of drive?  Lack of interest?  I find that I’m learning a great deal about myself in this journey.  Not always for the better.

I do try to find the UP side to everything, however, and in this notebook I found another list.  “Things that bring me joy”  so at this point I’ll add to my original list…Or maybe this IS the original list…

1.  the RUSH associated with falling for a new guy (seems rather silly, don’t you think??)

2.  Fine things.  Fine food, fine fragrances, fine fabrics, fine chocolates.

3.  Watching my children smile at little things (at the time of writing the kids were 22, 17 and 16)

4.  Feeling like I’m in control.

5.  Driving to and exploring new places.

6.  Yoga

7.  Socks fresh out of the dryer, especially the fluffy, chenille ones.

8.  Going for a facial, although this has only happened once.

So, now I suppose its time to organize my lists, make some sense out of them, get the emotions that drove them OUT of my brain and onto paper (or the WWW, as it were) and move on with things.

I suspect there’s going to be more than one category added to this site with all over my varying lists, to-do’s, want-to-do, works in progress and so forth.  It rather feels like I’m about to pull the rip-cord on a tornado…


Project: JOY

Lesson No. 1 – The Search for Happiness

Well, you can’t say that I didn’t try to obtain formal permission to blog about The Joy Within (Joan Goldstein & Manuela Soares ISBN 0-13-511338-5).  I posted a request in the forums at the Simon and Schuster website, and when that attracted nothing, I found the “contact us” form on their home page and sent an e-mail.  It’s been about 10 days now and still no reply.  So, I’m going to delve into the project without formal blessings from the author or publishers and hope that I don’t piss anyone off  in the process.

The Joy Within

Here’s the official up-sell, and if you want to pick up a copy and join me in my quest for JOY feel free.  I think it would be fun to have a few “cronies”  to compare notes with. – everyone know who these guys are!

At my age, I like to think that I’ve been there and done that (I’ll be 48 this summer, FYI).  In the grand scheme, I really haven’t.  But you develop a certain “jaded” quality with age.  I am divorced, have a number of X’s and until recently was quite content to stick my head in the sand, and just dream about building my farm (  I can’t explain it, but physically, I am precisely where I am supposed to be.  Emotionally, however, is another matter entirely.

It is said that only your soul mate can break your heart.  I agree.  I had started writing about that experience and then that project got set aside in for lack of devotion and a driving need to be as far away as possible.  This seems to be a trend with me, I start things but never truly complete them.  What I have discovered via many hours on the phone with my girlfriends (and I keep very FEW close friends) that what I’m missing in my life is MY OWN JOY.  I’ve never truly pursued ME.  There’s always been one reason or another to avoid finding my own happiness, and now, that needs to be corrected.  My nest of assorted children is just about empty, so there’s no excuse there anymore.

It’s time to really discover who I am, what makes ME tick, makes me happy, and brings me joy.  

The lessons in The Joy Within are broken down into Outer Focus and Inner Focus exercises.  The first exercise is to make a list of what makes me happy.

My list seems to be REALLY, REALLY long.  I have found that in compiling my list that I find I keep adding to it.  The “list” is seemingly never complete.  It also seems to give me an excuse to NOT get to the Inner Focus exercise which is actually doing the meditation.

The pattern repeats itself.  I know that I have a true gift for procrastination, and am not entirely certain how to fix that.  I’m sure that answer will come along with all the others I seek.

SO, to get busy here – the SHORT list…THINGS THAT BRING ME HAPPINESS:

Money – this has to be number 1 on the list.  I have a huge hang up about security and money.  I will tolerate pretty much anything to make sure the bills are paid and there’s food in the cupboard.  I suspect this stems from not being able to really MAKE a lot of money at any given time.

Skating – I LIVE to ice skate.  Currently I have been blessed with coaching assignments in three small towns.  When I enter those rinks, skate bag in hand, the entire world ceases to exist!  My feet hit the ice, the music plays, the students smile and start their practices.  It’s the closest that you can get to flying without ever leaving the ground!

Going to work – I know this seems a little out of line with the standard definition of being happy, but I truly enjoy my job as a grocery clerk in the local retail.  The customers, the ever changing inventories of food items, chatting with people.  I don’t make bugger all for money (retail wages, well, they suck) but I feel great when my shift is over.

Summerberry Organics – this will be “the farm” one day.  I like to think of it as a painting that will never truly be finished.  When I leave this world, I would like my ashes distributed there.  There is peace, solitude, a blank canvas.

Roses – To me there is perfection in them.  I’d have to say I like red ones the best, mostly because I’m a romantic fool at heart.  A single rose says more than any bouquet.  They are a perfectly simple, perfectly profound statement in a single flower.

Stars – Every so often I will open my eyes in the morning and there will be a single, bright star shining through the spruce tree outside my bedroom window.  These seem to be the BEST days for me.  That star fills me with hope.  Hope for my future.  It’s an assurance that everything will be fine.  One day.  Where I live, we have vast open skies.  There’s many nights when the weather is clear that I will just stand outside and stare up at them.  I give thanks to them for being there.  I marvel at them.

Sunrise – This may seem a little silly.  After all, who DOESN’T like sunrise.  There are days when I’m actually UP before sunrise (see note about the star above).  With coffee in hand I venture outside and just stand there and watch.  I wait for the sun to blaze over the tops of the houses along my street and I just stand there in it.  I let the rays wash over me.  I find them cleansing.  I will say a prayer in honor of the new day.

There you have it.  The SHORT list.  Now to get on with the INNER focus of the exercise.  I’m not sure which item I will start with.  I have read through the prefaces and the introduction.  I think the hardest part of settling down to the inner focus will be quieting my own mind.  It’s a total chatterbox!  I need to be able to enter a mode of “no thought” in order to properly visualize that which brings me joy.  I think achieving the “blank brain” zone is going to be the hardest part of all.

Home Project: JOY

The Fine Art of Joy

In my last post, I expounded on the virtues of being happy. To dissect this topic a little further, I’ve decided to delve into the practice of finding  JOY.
The Cambridge Online Dictionary

defines JOY as follows:


joy noun ( HAPPINESS )
[U] great happiness
They were filled with joy when their first child was born.
She wept for joy when she was told that her husband was still alive.
[C] a person or thing which causes happiness
Listening to music is one of his greatest joys.
the joys of parenthood
[+ to infinitive] Her singing is a joy to listen to.
To see JOY in PRINT really is rather anti-climactic. Flat, if you will, without JOY.
To my mind JOY is the tingly, giggly, silly, twittery feeling you get from something or someone. It’s the little rush of emotion and warmth of feeling that you are blessed with when something (again, or someone) brings you happiness.
Happiness and joy could, I suppose, be construed as one and the same. But when it comes down to breaking down the emotions of them, they really aren’t.
Happiness is a sort of continuous way of being.
Joy is the moments that KEEP you happy.
Joy is the pleasure of savouring a FINE piece of chocolate.
Joy is the sensation you receive when you find an attractive man staring at you from across a restaurant.
Joy is the sensation you feel when you watch your child master a skill such as walking, talking, riding their first bike.
Joy is something that should never be taken lightly.

How do you go about maintaining this sensation without becoming addicted?  THAT, I have no idea just yet.  There must be a balance in there somewhere.

So, having watched Julie & Julia not too long ago (cute movie, by the way) I think what I’m going to do is a test project.  In the movie, Julie embarks on a journey of discovery to complete a one year project via a Julia Childs cookbook.

I have on my bookshelf a small book that was given to me a LONG (15 years plus) time ago by the nice ladies at a bookstore in Vernon, BC.  I don’t think the store is there anymore, but the book has remained with me all these years.  Largely untouched, I think now would be a good time to embark on this project.  The book’s title is “The Joy Within, A beginner’s guide to meditation”.  It’s written by Joan Goldstein & Manuella Soares.  Both writers, both devotees of the art of meditation.

It is said that JOY must come from within…I agree.  I think a journey within myself to find a space of joy will be a good place to start.  I’m not sure how long this take, I’ll keep you posted.