Joy and Wonder
I deeply believe that joy is not a destination but a practice. Happiness is not something you earn, arrive at, or own, but something you notice, sit with, and practice at.I also believe that in the chaos of motherhood (especially early motherhood) happiness can feel very elusive.We are tired. We are frustrated. We feel alone and overwhelmed.We need reminders to nurture our joy and happiness. And we need them often. But we each deserve to feel joy. As often as possible.And that’s why I am excited to tell you that I have joined 14 other inspiring mamas in a new ebook, designed to help you nurture joy and embrace the everyday wonder of life. The book is called Nurturing Joy: Illuminating Everyday Enchantment. And even better - it is available for free!You can claim your free copy from Raising Loveliness here.The book consists of interviews with 14 mothers who share their views on discovering and practicing joy, encouraging celebration, and stories about what enlivens each of us. For example, here is my response to the question, "How has motherhood helped you rediscover a sense of joy?"
I think it is impossible to live with a small child and not be touched by their joy in simply being alive. Looking at the world through my daughter’s eyes opens me up to experience more joy every day. She'll throw open the curtains in our bedroom in the morning and say, "It a beautiful day today!" It doesn't even matter what the weather is out there, she's convinced every day is beautiful.If I stop and look every time she says, "Look, mama," I can’t help but get sucked in to her wonder at the world. The sky, the leaves, the color, the absurdity, the beauty. It isn't that the world is any different than it was before I was a mother, but becoming a mother has helped me re-learn how to be open to the wonderful ways it can surprise and delight me.
I encourage you to take a few moments to check out the book. When you need a quiet reminder in the next few weeks, make some tea and read an interview.
My friend Sharon Harding of Rediscovered Families contacted me recently about my perspective on nurturing wonder in the Christmas season. I was happy to tell her my thoughts in an interview that she published today: Reclaiming the Wonder of Christmas.I have been thinking so much lately about how to re-infuse the holidays with joy and wonder, as I've been preparing the materials for my upcoming eclass. The more I write about this topic, there more I find I have to say.In this interview, Sharon asked me about my memories of Christmas as a child, and I realized that while I hold a lot of sad memories in one hand, in the other I hold just as many filled with wonder and sweetness. In the interview I shared this bittersweet memory:
My favorite holiday memory is the Christmas just after my parents separated. As a result of that split my brother and I moved down off of our rural piece of property and into a condo in town with our mom. My mom didn’t have the money that year to buy a Christmas tree for our house, but she got permission from my dad to go back up to our land and cut a Manzanita tree that she set up in the living room of the new house that still felt uncomfortable and not really ours. Mom jerry-rigged the tree stand and we got out the box of ornaments she’d been collecting all of our lives – hand made and collected on trips and passed down from her parents – and hung them up on the funny-shaped but beautiful tree.That tree fell over almost every night but each morning we’d pick it up, put the ornaments back on it and breathe in the scent of Manzanita and home.
You can read the rest of the interview here, which includes more about my history with Christmas, how I approach Christmas celebrations now that I have my own child, and my inspiration for the course.Speaking of which, class starts next Sunday. If you haven't registered yet, there is still time for you to join! Click the image below to see the details and how to register.