So often a fleeting state, seen as hard won or not relevant to the cut and thrust of daily life. A momentary dazzling of the senses, a peak experience, snapped for Instagram. Yet there is more to joy than meets the eye. A potent healer of self and others. A transformative, contagious state, where all that has been can be swept away in an instant as something new is revealed. How might we nourish joy in our hearts? If, as it seems to me, it is there, lurking, ready to break through the surface of our awareness at any moment, is nourishment simply relaxing into it, recognising the constricted, fearful thinking that takes us away from it?
And what of avoidance, bypassing, living in la-la land. That’s not joy. That takes as much effort, in terms of denial and wilful head in the sand blindness, as living in negativity. It just dresses itself up as positive when in fact it requires the same degree of dehumanising as its opposite, wilful cruelty.
Joy is something else. A willingness to be joyful is a good start. Knowing it brings healing is all the encouragement we could want, isn’t it? Joy in being alive, joy in the foibles and ridiculousness of ourselves and others, joy in the millions of unseen movements that make up this living, breathing planet. Joy in the fierceness of the human spirit, the resilience of the tiniest plant clinging to life on a windswept rock. Joy in being part of this unknowable, incredible whole. Joy in the journey with all its ups and downs.
Perfectionism has rolled back around into the spotlight. It gets a bad rap and rightly so for it tends to be used against oneself. In discussion, my partner said ‘it’s a kind of violence’. And that really landed for me. It can be violent, where it suffocates creative expression or taking action and invites us into excruciatingly, uncomfortable procrastination.
Can we expand our view of perfectionism, get a new perspective?
What even is it all about? Some imagined idea of how something should be? Holding that as the only possible outcome, seeing only how our efforts fall short of that imagined outcome? When we know, it is in taking action that new horizons appear. By letting ideas out, formed into action, new ideas occur. Mis-takes can be seen as opportunities that open up new possibilities
Perfect ~ as made
A few years ago, a dear friend told me one of the root meanings of ‘perfect’ is ‘as made’ from the Latin ‘per’ – completely and facere – to make, to do. I love that idea. Something is perfect in the sense, it has come into form, it is perfect simply as an expression of form. When we get to wondering at the miraculous diversity of form constantly showing up, then the word perfect suddenly goes far deeper.
I wonder how that would be to see ourselves too as ‘perfect’ ~ ‘as made’?
You’ll be able to hear me and Carla Royal exploring this topic on our new podcast, Riffing on Realness, launching in the Autumn. We had a blast.
Juliet is a poet and Three Principles facilitator & mental health educator, living on a small estuary in West Wales UK, follow her Insta-poems and photograph @juliet_k_fay. Get in touch to hire her to facilitate your next poetry workshop.
While we continue to believe that parts of our experience (emotions) must be excluded, we will experience a painful dichotomy in our experience. It is this belief itself that needs to be loved and held and accepted as being present so that it too can dissolve and fall away.. Be seen for what it is …. a thought oft repeated that has become a belief and has guided and protected us until we no longer needed its guidance and protection. Humbly thank it and wish it farewell as it departs.