June Reset and July Joy

We often talk about “needing a reset button.”  I am in agreement that we all, at certain points of the day, week, year, and lives need time to reset.  It may be a moment, such as when we listen to that favorite song during our lunch break on a difficult Tuesday.  It may extend through a few days, like the trip to mountains we take during a long weekend.  Or for some of us it might take the form of something longer or more rigorous, like a spiritual retreat or long-term program.  The important thing about each of these examples is that they are not achieved with the press of a button.  Human beings aren’t pieces of machinery that can be reset with a 10-second hold followed by an impatient 30-second wait.  That’s why I dislike the analogy of regrouping to that of pushing a reset button.  A human reset is more like a stretch: it has multiple parts, and we adjust what we’re doing based on what we feel and what we need.  It’s a beautiful, unique, and personal process to each individual.

I took the month of June to “reset” after a few months of taxing and challenging circumstances.  I was free of the pressures of graduate work for the first time in four years; the teaching year ended and my summer vacation began; and for the first time in a long while I had the space, time, and energy to devote to myself.  And so I spent June doing the things that made me feel best, provided rest, and allowed me to put in order the pieces of my life that had fallen or become misshapen earlier in the year.  For me, these things include cleaning and organizing, reading, walking and spending time in nature, making lists, journaling, doing yoga, and praying.  I cleared out my closet of three bags full of clothes I haven’t worn in the last nine months and probably won’t wear again; I ironed curtains for six hours and hung them around the house; I spent time with my hands in the dirt in my garden, and I took long walks in the park.  I focused on my eating habits and started to exercise again.  Some days I needed to listen to loud music and dance, while other days I needed to watch six hours of television and cry.  The human process of recovering, righting, reorganizing, and resetting my body, mind, and soul was a worthy and well-received pursuit.  It was the right thing at the right time.

This month I’m ready to practice something more.  July is all about joy.  What does joy really mean to me?  Where does it come from, and how do I experience it?  I want to explore joy in all its forms: spiritually, emotionally, socially, and however else it may exist.  How do I internalize joy?  In what ways does joy spread, and how can I invite others into it?  These are big questions, and I don’t expect to answer them all or even have an absolute or complete answer for any single one.  But just as taking time to reset was a necessary and worthwhile endeavor, so too is an exploration of the phenomenon of joy and its presence in our lives and the world around us.

I leave you with a few questions to consider this week:

 What are 2 simple strategies you can use to reset during busy, stressful, or difficult days?

 How do you define joy, and where do you think this definition came from? 
What examples of joy exist in your life?  (Past or present!)

 

Have a joyful week, my friends.

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