It may come as no surprise that I have been focusing on joy, this past week. ‘Does this inspire joy?’ has become my mantra. What I have found is that neither the question nor the answers are as obvious as they might seem. For what is joy? What does joy feel like? And maybe most importantly: what does it feel like to me?
What better than a blank canvas to discover just that? This week I stacked up on small canvases and one very big one to do just that. The small canvases really are small canvases, 25x25cm or 10″x10″, linen on cardboard, intended to allow myself to just do, and feel, and mess up, and succeed, and fail, and explore shape and texture and color and pattern, to allow me to discover what feels like joy, and what doesn’t. The big canvas is about 3m high x 3,5m long x 2m wide or 10′x12′x7′, and it is not as much a canvas as it is a trailer. Last Saturday, we bought a trailer.
I love camping, always have camped; cannot imagine my life without it. What I love most about it is being so close to nature. Growing up, we camped rather primitively: low to the ground, almost no luxury, but it was golden, because we were spending time together as a family. When we started going on vacation without my parents, we continued camping the way I always had. Seven years ago, we upgraded. We got a powered cooler, and with that came electricity as well. Two years later, we bought a huge tent, high chairs and a high table. I loved it. Last year, putting up the tent costed us about 3 hours, in the burning sun. It was then and there that I had had it with tents. What I want is hassle-free camping. I love the idea of a home on wheels: less packing. I love the idea of quick arriving and leaving. But what I love most is having a beautiful and organized little home wherever we go.
We decided didn’t need a bathroom, or tons of space, or one that was beautiful on the outside, what we wanted was a blank canvas. A well-cared for trailer that could be easily converted to a sweet little home. And that is exactly what I found. The big bonus: this trailer has not only been well-cared for, it has been loved. It belonged to an elderly couple who loved camping first as a family, then together. The husband died three years ago. Selling wasn’t easy for the lady, because she wasn’t selling a trailer, she was selling memories. This love, more than anything else, I discovered, inspired joy within me.
I am so excited. I’ve been creating inspiration boards on Pinterest to discover what caravan interior inspires joy in me. I am being laughed at and mocked by both my husband and my daughter, but visualizing this make-over is so much fun! Interestingly, the things that inspire joy usually are different from what I imagined. It’s a process. I am discovering that these canvases (the small ones and the big one alike) are as much an exploration of how joy feels to me, as of how it expresses itself through me. I am learning to articulate joy, not only in words, but in everything I do. Joy, I found, in essence, is an act of Self-expression.
Joy, to me, feels
light and bubbly like Prosecco,
in the shade of a tree on a warm day;
Spring, fresh and luscious flowering green;
a clear Summer night, stars and campfire;
leaves of old trees rustling in the wind;
standing next amidst Redwood giants;
waves washing ashore, never endingly;
laying next to my girl, giggling,
softly caressing her face, sniffing her scent;
the belly-laugh provoking dry humor of my man
still surprising me after 25 years;
paints and pastels and embroidery threads
in every color imaginable;
messing around, playing
with color, texture, print and self-appointed tools;
yellowish green leaves floating on a gentle stream,
meandering through flowering meadows;
sitting on top of a mountain,
nothing but the sound of wind in my ears;
the crazy wagging tail and innocent excitement
of my dog after I’ve been away for one minute;
light and airy on the outside,
warm and cosy on the inside;
ease, simplicity, beauty, sensuality,
love, peace, kindess, a soul-lit smile;
being recognized for who I am, and loved as I am,
by my tribe, my soul family.
Now, what does joy feel like to you?