Life-changing joy

I was recently washing dishes by hand and a thought occurred to me. If everything you have brings you joy, then even the act of cleaning up – washing dishes, dusting, sweeping, etc. – is bringing you into contact with objects that bring you joy. You’ll enjoy cleaning.

This is a concept that Marie Kondo talks about, in a way. I don’t recall her ever saying that the act of cleaning will become joyful, only that you should only keep items that bring you joy. But the two seem related.

The obstacle is when there is too much stuff – and not all of it brings joy into your life.

In a way, I guess it’s a endorsement of minimalism.

Combative ideology

We’ve been fighting over ideologic differences for so long, it might as well be ingrained into our societal culture.

However, there was a moment in the Vice-Presidential debate when Mike Pence answered a little girl’s question over how we respond to each other when differences arise.

“I started following the news when I was very young. And in America, we believe in a free and open exchange of debate. And we celebrate that as how we could, literally, the freest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world. And I will tell you that –don’t assume that what you’re saying on your local news networks is synonymous with the American people. You know, I looked at the relationship between Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late justice who we just lost from the Supreme Court, and the late Justice Antonin Scalia. They were on polar opposites, on the Supreme Court of the United States – one very liberal, one very conservative. But what’s been learned since her passing was the two of them and their families were the very closest of friends. And here in America, we can disagree we can debate vigorously as Senator Harris and I have on the stage tonight. But when the debate is over, we come together as Americans. That’s what people do in big cities and small towns all across this country, so I just want to encourage you, Brecklyn, I want to tell you that we’re going to work every day to have a government as good as our people, the American people, each and every day. We love a good debate. We love a good argument. We always come together and are always there for one another. And we’ve especially learned that during the difficulties of this year.”

I take issue with some things said here, and more that was said during the evening. However, the sentiment that “we’re all Americans” is one that should be inherent in each of us. Whether born here or immigrated; wealthy or poor; white, black, or something in-between. We are America. We’re better because of our differences, not in spite of them.

Trying to please

There are a lot of things beyond our control. When we try to force such things, we’re often left feeling dissatisfied. Like we’re beating our heads against the wall.

Pleasing others can be a slippery slope. It feels great to make someone happy. But it’s easy to put too much weight into what others thing about us. When that happens, we’ve lost control of ourselves. Given all of our power to others.

Now, all we have is living to try and please others.

When that happens, take a step back. Ask yourself, “What do I really want?” Sometimes the answer is forthcoming, sometimes not. But keep trying.

Eventually, you’ll get your response.

A few more recent readings

Some things of interest, still catching up from the past few months.

Upgrade to professional

“The difference between a professional and an amateur is that the former shows up and does the work whether he feels like it or not.”

It can be a frightening jump. It’s often the biggest one you take when working in a creative field. It can be even bigger than starting the project in the first place.

The trick is, when fearing the outcome, lean in. Don’t let the fear – the resistance – stop you.

To love

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.” – C.S. Lewis

More than any other living being, the humanity is such that we are connected and bound to each other. To feel the need to care for and to love.

It isn’t easy to remain vulnerable. After loss, or heart-ache, or even excessive periods of discomfort (all of which will happen if living an open life), it may be tempting to shut off from the world.

And while some time away can be a refresher for a life stagnated, to do so permanently is to forego the gifts you’ve been given, and the chance to bring those gifts to the world.

Apple of my eye

New iPhones are being previewed today. While the craze for new smartphones seems engrained in our cultural consciousness, it wasn’t so long ago that all there was were landlines.

How swiftly society pushes forward into new technology, new crazes, and new ways of operating in daily life. Getting in on the ground floor – creating something that can change the world – that’s where energy is best spent.

I suppose that I’ll try to remember that as I stand in line at the Apple Store.

Waiting for the election

Okay, I’m ready for this year to be over. It was drastically different than anything I’d expected to happen. I should have just been getting back from Alaska. Rather, I’ve been kind of all over. Between Covid, wildfires, storms, and economic uncertainty, as well as the looming election, it’s just… a lot.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Much is being thrown at us, the public, regarding the political divide, the natural disasters, et al. It’s hard to keep up. It’s hard to keep up in our daily life, let alone try to keep abreast of all national problems that are surfacing. When much of America is striving just to make it day-to-day, how can we not feel overwhelmed?

While the future is still steeped in uncertainty, one thing is (and I hope this statement doesn’t bite me in the butt down the road) guaranteed. The election is coming up in just a few short weeks, and with that out of the way, maybe the government can move forward with some productive aplomb.

Make magic

Make dreams real. It’s the magic of creation. It’s transforming the mundane into the unusual and spectral.

It’s embracing that which is uncertain. And it’s magic.

Art is transformative, but it’s not limited. Use your imagination. It will never run out. At worst, it could be a bit rusty from not using it.