For those of you too young to remember this joke, it's what my dad liked to call "an oldie but goodie". . .
A pedestrian on 57th Street in New York City sees a musician getting out of a cab and asks, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" Without pause, the artist replies, wearily, "Practice, practice, practice."
I took a week off from writing this blog to do just that. Last weekend felt like PURE JOY, spent with my dog Allie and some dear friends, new friends, in a gorgeous part of this country -- as well as giving two talks in Rockport and Salem, Massachusetts. I decided I was too busy practicing joy to write about it. And that that was a very good thing.
Fact of the matter is that my joy practice had become a little weary. In fact, a lot of my daily life has felt tired. I needed to spruce things up a bit. Since fall is my favorite season, let's call it fall cleaning. I hit the re-FRESH button in my joy practice. And that button has everything to do with Childlike Joy. It's October -- my busy season in the horror world -- and everyday someone asks me, "What was Vincent Price, the King of Horror @MasterofMenace, like in real life?" Inevitably, the first word that comes out of my mouth is FUN! My dad knew how to have fun. And he never forgot it. I, on the other had, have placed such a stock in being thought "a serious person." HAH!
So, over the past two weeks, I have decided to mix things up a bit and just have some fun. Here's my Podcast talking a bit about my impetus and the results. You can listen to it and see the accompanying visuals by clicking
Or you can just click right here to listen, if that's a bit easier.
If you're amused, intrigued, engaged by what you've heard, feel free to follow me and my Allie girl here:
I've also been pushing myself to try other fun practices. I've been thinking a lot about why I photograph. It's because I am both a word lover and a visual learner/thinker. I think in pictures, actually. So, I thought I would try a new form of "prayer" each morning. I would look for a photo that I have taken and then see what it was telling me. I have created these as "daily reminders" to myself these past few weeks -- because we always talk about what we need to hear. The images below are what has come through. I've been having fun with them. . .but I have promised myself that, when they start feeling dutiful, I'll find another way of listening and practicing joy.
Basically, practicing joy is about saying YES! Richard Rohr wisely tells us that no conversation can begin with a No. If I ask you to tell me how you feel about, oh, say rhododendrons, and you say No. Well, that's that. But it's more than conversations that can't begin. Nothing begins with a No. A No is always important for us to have -- in terms of our boundaries, our limits, our sense of well being. But No's should be used judiciously. To do anything, try anything, experience anything, we must give it our assent. Lately, I've come to think that one of my purest shortest prayers comes down to one word:
And so, this week is all about sharing my Practice of Yes. Playing with Allie on social media, and sharing the daily reminders in images and words that come through me. These are all parts of my joy-filled, silly, just plain-old-fun Practice of Yes.
Last year I wrote a blog in honor of my dad's passing. He died on October 25, 1993. It was the blog that had the most response of anything I have written. I think it's because it struck a chord. That chord was the YES! in us all. In that blog, I exhorted everyone to engage in the Practice of Yes! To say Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes! to at least one thing between October 25 and Halloween.
This week, in honor of that anniversary and The Holiday for Horror Fans -- Halloween -- I've been giving lots of talks. In them, I've reinvigorated that request. Try saying yes to one thing you've been resisting. One thing that you've had a million good excuses not to do. One thing that someone has wanted you to do but you've just not found the time for. One thing that you've been scared of. Or just spontaneously say Yes! to something that comes up, which you would normally refuse. In short. to reFRESH your own Daily Practice of Joy, have a go and saying YES!
As a little inspiration, here is a link to last year's blog: YES YES YES YES YES!
Here's wishing you all as much good old fashioned FUN as I've had these past few weeks invigorating my joy practice with silliness, creativity, adventure, and connection.
To end with another Oldie But Goodie: Try it. You'll like it!