Category: Winter 12/13

The Direction of Joy is Playfully Creative

This morning Carlie and I went for our walk, pink tennis ball in hand and the thrill of just the two of us on the open road. In that moment, the direction of joy was away from home and over to an open field nearby. I willingly followed this path of joy.

Along the way, our neighbour dog Lassie joined us. I let them romp, chase and do all the games of play young dogs do. Carlie looked up at me, eyes dancing, as if to tell me, ‘I’m giggling inside and out.’ The look in her eyes and the weaving and darting that only a herding dog can do brought joy to my heart. The direction of joy was in watching my dog run like the wind in the field. I wondered, ‘what’s left for me to do to bring more joy into my life?’

We moved on and just before we came back onto the road, I found a stick and threw it for Carlie. She retrieved the stick and in her circuitous way, brought it back to me, even though Lassie was trying to engage her in ‘beat up’. I picked up the stick at my feet and threw it out in front of us for her to fetch. Lassie was actively blocking her path. I watched Carlie lean toward the left, look forward to the stick and then finally go right and deke around Lassie to get to the stick. What a great trick! She retrieved the stick and then turned around to taunt Lassie with it. For Carlie, there is nothing better than successfully luring another dog into a game of chase because she has mischievously got them to desire what she has in her mouth. I smiled to myself – she had to go to the right of Lassie to get to her stick, to play her game, a game that brings her joy. She had to do what was a right choice for her ‘to get to her joy’. We finally headed toward home to the joy of sharing our adventure with Lucy.

Christmas can be filled with moments of grief, sadness or lack of joy as much as it has  moments of joy. However, to find joy, we may need to know which direction to go. Moving forward is a great and fantastic direction but it’s not the only direction available to us. Pay attention this Christmas to the direction of where you can discover your joy. If it isn’t about moving forward, then try other directions to see which path to your joy opens up.

As you reflect upon the coming year 2013 (and yes, of course it will come…and go), what is the direction toward your goals, toward the joy you desire, toward the peace you want to make with yourself or others?

Feeling stuck, confused or overwhelmed about what direction to take? Need help navigating the road ahead? I’m here to help. Book a session with Shirley Lynn in January and we will get you moving in your right direction. As additional support and focus for your journey, I will give you a free copy of Wisdom’s Way to a Joyful 2013 workbook. So don’t put it off – let’s get you moving!

Shine your light with confidence

It’s that time of year again when Christmas lights are beaming through the darkness, making our long dreary evenings more heart-warming. Houses that might otherwise go unnoticed blaze with individuality and character. I especially appreciate those who obviously put a lot of time, effort and imagination into creating spectacular displays – even those that “spew” lights all over with joyful abandon speak to the festive personalities within. Such people are not afraid to have fun, to draw attention to themselves, to shine their light[s] in the darkness around them. They embody letting one’s inner brilliance shine through with creativity and confidence.

This is Carlie’s first Christmas so we have been working on exposing her puppy mind to these new sights and sounds. Being an especially sensitive dog, she tends to react with uncertainty in novel situations. As part of her ongoing training, Shirley Lynn has taken her to Waterloo Park as well as our local neighbourhood Christmas display to experience this holiday tradition up close. But still her alarm bells rang on a recent evening walk when ‘new’ lights shone in the distance – Who put those lights there? They’ve never been there before. Make it go back to how it was before. I’m not sure this road is safe to walk on… [Both she and our cats would disagree strongly but I think she could be part cat!].

Not one to be redirected easily, we have found that Carlie moves through the situation quicker and more successfully if we stop to acknowledge what is distressing for her and then ask her to engage in other activities she knows well and likes to do. On this evening with two people we could play a fast game of recall (back and forth come when called) interspersed with some of her other learned skills like touch and paw. In little time at all Carlie had regained her confidence and the bounce was back in her step. [I imagine her eyes had a sparkle in them too, but that’s hard to see in the semi-dark.] She was able to look at the lights again and see that they were not a threat after all.

As I was reflecting on this scenario, I realized that feeling confident helps us face and overcome many of life’s challenges and uncertainties. It’s okay to feel cautious in new situations but we need to have strategies in place to help us navigate them with confidence. Take a moment to think about how you initially react in a novel situation. What strategies do you use to confidently move through the experience? Or is this something you need to work on? Why not make an appointment with Shirley Lynn today to fine-tune or build your confidence skills – you can say that you won’t run around for liver treats! That’s called boundaries.

This holiday season I invite you to pay particular attention to the light displays in your communities and reflect on the sense of fun, creativity and confidence they emanate. Turn on these gifts within yourself and please remember to express gratitude to the giver who helped re-light them.

Make a joyful noise!

It’s the beginning of December but today I find my spirits lightened by the warm sunny day, a true gift at this time of year. My ears note the variety of sounds – the rush of car tires on the street, the bold call of the blue jay, the lighter chatter of smaller birds around the feeders, Carlie sighing somewhat patiently as she waits for something interesting to happen that involves her. A light breeze tickles the wind-chime in the tree outside the window.

Make a joyful noise!

Joy – the emotion of great happiness. I join Carlie for a walk to reflect on what this means. In nature, sounds are part of the day’s rhythms – sometimes they are comradely chatter; sometimes songs of jubilation; other times declarations of warning and posturing. Each species, each element has its own unique sound. But always there is communication. There is a sender and a receiver, both of whom participate in the experience. I tune in to Carlie running with reckless abandon in the weeds and branches on the river banks. The snap of twigs and stirring of leaves make me smile – see it works – my thoughts and feelings are influenced by her joyful tracking of phantom smells.

Make a joyful noise!

In this extended holiday season, we are inundated with all genres of Christmas music that is intended to get us in the holiday spirit. Some appeals to me more than others. For some who spend lots of time in public places, the din of competing voices, commercial activity and music can be anything but joyful. Others find this frenzy of activity exhilarating. Still others enthuse about annual Christmas musical and dramatic performances. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement and busyness of the holidays. After all, it is often a time of festivities with family, friends and communities.

Make a joyful noise!

This phrase is active – it asks us to spread joy through sound. Share a good laugh, a kind word, a beautiful song. Be creative. Be generous.

Make a joyful noise!

submitted by Lucy Martin