I have been on the road for two weeks now, in a different city almost every night, and I have many miles to go between now and mid-December.
I'm having such an amazing time doing what I love to do during my favorite season of the year. My joy quotient on this trip has been incredibly high!!! Every day has been so rich with blessings, filled with wonderful people and incredible experiences.
The only thing that is difficult has been keeping up with everything on my plate -- in particular my work/computer/writing/logistical life.
So, this morning I gave myself a gift: Although I've been "writing" this week's blog post since Tuesday -- first recording my ideas as I drove from Kalamazoo to Kansas City, and then starting to jot them down and wrangle them into some kind of shape- -- I feel like I'm not going to be able to get it done the way I want by the end of this weekend. Since this IS all about my daily practice of joy, my gift to myself is to just do something very simple this week.
I have decided to keep this blog post short and sweet. . .but ultimately true to this joy practice. In fact, I'm just going to share in writing one of my go-to, tried-and true practices of joy: Gratitude.
I want to say thank you to every single person whom I have met and spoken with on the road these past two weeks. You have brought me so much joy!
Thank you: For putting together so many amazing and beautifully received and attended events, for picking up and putting down and moving and hauling boxes of books, for feeding me incredible food, for interviewing me and letting me tell my story, for sharing a meal, for listening, for laughing, for telling me your stories, for looking me in the eye and saying thank you, for stopping me in a grocery store aisle to tell me what you have meant to your family, for complimenting my hair at the rental car counter, for telling me you like my toenail polish color and my "style", for chatting with me about art, for sharing a gorgeous folio of bird drawings, for recommending beautiful places for my morning walks, for calling me and texting me to check in on me while I'm away, for loving my dogs as much as I do, for creating an exhibition honoring my father, for painting a beautiful poster, for bringing me flowers, for bringing me books, for bringing me art, for giving me hugs, for suggesting a farm-to-table restaurant, for letting me drive through a state park for ten minutes without paying so I could see a lake, for giving me a discount on my overcooked meal, for sharing a divine moment in a glass labyrinth, for telling me how much you loved my father and for letting me tell you how much my father loved you, for helping me choose a sweater, for lifting my heavy bags into the rental car shuttle, for bringing my father's old friends together, for letting me video you on Periscope, for showing up to support me, for "getting" my message of YES!, for sitting in the audience with big smiles on your faces, for sharing your tattoos and complimenting me on mine, for bringing your kids to meet me, for liking my hat, for chatting about baseball and my fantasy football line-up, for watching the game with me in the bar, for asking me what my favorite movie of all time is, for sitting next to me during a scary movie you didn't really want to see, for making me a delicious green juice, for inviting me into your restaurants and theaters and inns and homes and universities and libraries, for calling me to ask for help, for helping me take orders, for cooking my eggs over easy, for reading this blog and telling me what it means to you, for responding to my social media posts, for listening to my stories of the road, for being in my life.
And that doesn't even begin to cover it! I could write blog after blog expressing my gratitude for all that I have received in joy and love and support these past two weeks.
Instead, I just say: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
For those of you wanting to experience some of what I've been doing on the road, I would like to share a couple of links where I have been posting regularly. I think you might enjoy them:
A New Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/onebravelife
I created this Facebook page last month after having an epiphany: I realized that I have always felt joy when I have allowed myself to be myself -- without worrying about what other people thought of me. When I was 13 years old and in ninth grade, I had one of those life-changing teachers who can make all the difference in a kid's life. Her name was Sally Jordan, and she saw me for who I was: Creative, immature, imaginative, insecure, rebellious, undefinable, wild, disorganized, joyful, adventurous. She let me be the iconoclast I felt myself to be, and I flourished. I wrote epic poetry, photographed for the yearbook, starred in Shakespeare plays, read everything voraciously, planted marigolds, played sports, loved nature, filled up the lost and found, reached for the stars. I loved that me! She was so full of joy. I felt truer to myself than at almost any other time in my life. But when I turned 14 and started 10th grade at an elite college-prep school, I began whittling away at myself by caring more and more about what other people thought about me and what I had to do to "succeed". Sure I still pushed the envelope in every rebellious way I could, and continued to be an artistic iconoclast. But inside, something started to change, and I found myself on the slippery slope that led me to where you found me at the beginning of this blog -- the despairing workaholic struggling with self-loathing.
So, starting this Facebook page has been my invitation to the 13-year-old me that I so loved to resurface and do whatever creative things she wants -- post poetry and photographs, articles I like, chronicle my adventures. I think one day she might even start to draw and write epic poetry again. But for now, she is just having fun rediscovering herself! To meet her, just like the page and then follow her #onebravelife adventures on her new super-fun Facebook page.
A New Website: www.exploresavorcelebrate.com
This website is dedicated to capturing the joy I am having on this tour in photographs, videos, and audio clips. It has been so much fun to create! Like 13-year-old fun!
I have always loved photography, but I never felt like I had "the talent" to pursue it as an art form. So, it has been my avocation and great personal joy for years. iPhone photography has changed all that -- because we all feel a little more joyful license to just share what we enjoy seeing and how we enjoy seeing it. So, here are my photos from the road. Taking them brings me immense joy every single day, because it makes me feel so much more present right where I am. Living in the now!
So, that's it for this week from St Louis. Just a HUGE THANK YOU for sharing my joy with me and keeping me such amazing company on my journey.
And a gentle reminder that there really is no greater daily practice of joy than saying thank you and letting yourself be yourself!
I posted this poem this week on Facebook. May it be a reminder to us all to allow our living to open us all so that we can blossom into joy!