Thirty Days of Joy ~ Day 23 ~ Practice Makes…?

by Phyllis Capanna © 2012 joyreport

The day isn’t even over yet, and I’m writing my “report.” Why not? A change in perspective can be a breath of fresh air. Speaking of changes in perspective, suddenly I’m closer to the end of this project than the beginning.

I was thinking this morning that a thirty day practice is enough to instruct me on how to be open to the possibility of joy on a daily basis, but I’m afraid the awareness will fall by the wayside when I stop the daily practice. To be a joy practitioner, this initiate needs a daily practice, a daunting prospect, yet one I already know I can do.

I love this project, but when I think of continuing it beyond the thirty days, I think of being enslaved to something that will limit and hinder me. I know myself well enough to know, though, that my fear of being controlled controls me far more strongly than anything outside of myself, like an essay.

To tell the truth, I’m already mourning the loss of my Thirty Days of Joy. I’m just getting going! I wonder how long I could keep up writing a daily essay. On the other hand, how much better prepared could I be to just keep going?

~ Tiny joy list interlude ~

Below is a humble list of joys that were destined to be outtakes from this essay. I decided to include them as a break from all my blabbing. May my list inspire your list:

1. Laughing with my partner over one of her own cartoons.

2. Barbecuing chicken. I think I could cook on a barbecue grill even in winter. I fantasize about living tiny in a converted school bus and cooking on a propane grill every day.

3. Rotating fans

4. 5 p.m. naps

5. Looking forward to things

6. Making lists

7. Finding perfectly aligned, shiny mystery dots on my Swiss chard leaf. Are creatures really that neat?

After my Thirty Days of Joy, will I then do Thirty Days of Bummers? Thirty Days of Rice?  (Ugh.) Thirty Days of Butter Beans. (That has a happy ring to it.) Thirty Days of Gratitude, Attitude, Drumming, Composing —

Thirty Days of Song! (Now that’s a way to totally f***with myself!) At the same time it’s kind of exciting to contemplate: a song a day for thirty days. I do have a history with producing a song a week when I belonged to a songwriters’ group back in Boston.

I have to confess: the thought brings a genuine, involuntary smile to my face.

As I told R. this morning as we cackled over her drawing for the hundredth time, “The first rule of making art is Please Yourself.”

Come to think of it, that may well be the first “rule” of being joyful, too. Don’t know what pleases you? I guess you just need more practice.


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