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My Joy Philosophy: Journey Towards Joy – Part 2

This is why I need and crave my quiet time.  

But I also realized after spending a life working in not-for-profits that I needed time alone to allow my body, mind and soul to be invigorated. I need to just stop! I need to just go for a walk. I need to sit by the water. I need my time alone. 

I’ve been single, now, for over nine years. I was forced to be alone by the Universe collapsing my life. It was a life lived for others, especially my spouse and kids. It was an inauthentic life. I now choose to be alone. I also choose when and who and where I’m NOT alone! Do I long for a relationship, of course! I don’t believe I am to be alone for good. But who knows? Now I choose to be either alone or not!

Like a rechargeable battery, we all must be plugged in to recharge. I thought, for most of my life, that it would just happen! Not anymore. Unlike the Duracell Bunny I do run out of energy.

This is why I need and crave my alone time.

About four years ago I met someone who would change my view of my ability to create artwork. She started out as a client, whom I cleaned house for, became a companion client, and latterly a mentor and friend. She is an artist. I am so grateful for having her in my life.

One day as I was cleaning house we were chatting, and I guess I was bemoaning my lack of artistic ability. I used to say, “I can’t draw stick men with a ruler!” 

So self-deprecating I was. It was a real sore point with me actually. I could hear my life calling out for it. But I saw it as a joke of the Universe. I really didn’t believe I was an artist.

With a few select expletives she had me sit down at her table and within a couple of hours I had drawn and then painted my first painting. It’s no Da Vinci! But I did it! I found such joy in it, too. 

Since then, I have created more and more. I sketch (not often enough). I paint (also not enough). I’ve create pieces like Joy 2.0 and more. I also write. What I’m aiming to have in my garden of life next is a keyboard. I so miss playing piano. 

Like my time alone, this invigorates me. There’s just something about the creative process that just can’t be described. I get lost in time, end up late for appointments; sit for far too long with my body aching if I forget to set a timer to move more often. It’s………..hard to describe.

This is why I need to connect with my Artist Archetype.

I’ve always spent a great deal of my life and waking hours serving others. It was what I was taught to do. It was part of my church upbringing. It was supposed to be a part of my joy of giving back to others. But as I’ve already said, I moved into a life of codependency with this service. I spent time pleasing others. And when I didn’t please someone, I spend hours in self-deprecation and planning an attack plan B do better.

My mother used to say, “You can please some of the people, some of the time. But you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Wise words from a very simple woman.

I set myself up for total failure by ignoring this; by deciding that she was wrong (as many of us do with our parents). I was going to please everyone! Oops!

My journey of JOY included a journey of grief especially here. I learned in the most painful and horrible ways that my Mum was right. I still battle with this. I still catch myself asking, “James! What the hell are you doing here? This person will never be totally pleased. They will keep taking and taking and taking. And guess what? Only you can change this…and not them!”

So what I’ve learned is that I can indeed still serve others. Yup! It’s true! But I need to serve me first! What? That just flies in the face of my Sunday School teachers who used to use the anagram:


Others second

Yourself LAST!!  

It’s not even Biblically sound! Jesus always took time for himself before he faced the crowds…and afterwards!

I have learned that if I take care of myself first and practice good boundaries in my life, I can actually enjoy serving others. I tell people that “I have the best job in the world,” and that it’s “drug of choice” doing ceremonies. I get the privilege of being with people in the greatest moments of their lives. Those major transitions that we all go through. Creating ceremonies and moments for people to share and remember is such an honour. 

I had to learn, though, that I must take care of myself even and especially here. I make sure that I have adequate rest, preparation, and connection with my clients. I will not fake it! I will not do it for the money, although I do charge accordingly. I have to be aware of my body, too. I can’t risk standing too long in one spot. I make sure I don’t get too cold…or warm. I take the appropriate time off before and after ceremonies. 

This past Easter as the world went into shutdown, I injured myself in the garden. It is a ‘simple’ soft tissue injury to the hip. But the pain debilitation was anything but simple! I spent the first month working from my bed as contracts with couples had to change and be personalized. I worked on ‘backstage’ stuff for Life’s Journey Ceremonies. I actually got a lot done! But I also learned really quickly that I had to rest. Sleep whenever my body conked me out. Keep the hip and leg in heat. Take the Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Stay off my leg! STAY! BE! Take care of ME!

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