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Doing It Daily

January, 2018

Monastery Sunrise     Photo by Martha Clark Scala

How A Mail-Order Catalog Nudged Me Toward Joy

You don’t have to look very far at my recently redesigned website to discover my primary message. It started out as a personal directive but now it is my universal invitation: Invest in bringing joy back to your life.

In the aftermath of a cluster of deaths, I wanted to retrieve some much-needed joy. Who could have predicted that a mail order catalog would send me such a perfect message over a decade ago? The retail store was Paper Source, and they had me beat. Their directive was only five words!

I spotted “Do Something Creative Every Day” in the colorful pages of the company’s catalog and felt like a loud alarm clock was going off right next to my head. Did I start a daily practice of creative expression right away? Not really. It is now many years since that wake up call and I rarely go a day without a pen or camera or scissors and rubber cement in my hands. It seems no accident that there’s more joy in my life, too.

Daily creative expression may not be the answer for you. (Bear in mind, however, that there are countless ways to be creative!) I’m convinced there is no one-size-fits-all solution for cultivating joy. But I’m also convinced there may be hidden clues in joyful moments or memories from your past.

I lost track of time with crayons and a coloring book, or with my old Instamatic camera. How did you lose track of time? Were you reading? Playing outside with neighbors? Playing Scrabble with your grandmother?

Once you identify specific moments or memories that were joyful, you can brainstorm activities that could yield similar feelings now. You may be too old to play hide and seek but getting outside with friends or a pet might be your daily ticket.

The most important word in my eight-word directive is the verb: invest. You may not need much money but an investment of time and intention could make a big difference.

You’ve got to want more joy, and not expect it to be delivered to you on a beautiful platter.

How will you invest in bringing more joy to your life? Is the alarm clock going off?

Comments on this blog post are welcome — see the bottom of this page.


Prompts for Joy

Click here to see what Berkeley’s Mr. Charles did daily to cultivate and celebrate joy.

(Great timing, Jan Herzog!)

Click here because you just have to meet Stonefox.

Click here for all previous Prompts for Joy.


Pictured Above

A winter sunrise in Lucia, CA.

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