Healing and Joy

Right now in my life, my biggest task to address everyday is healing. Of both the physical and emotional sort. Everyday is a mental tennis match between knowing I’m getting better and the weariness of what my life is right now. Because the progress is so gradual and grudging, I have to force myself to look back a week, two weeks, etc. to remind myself where I was at each of those points and take stock of how far I’ve come.

I’m an advocate of being mindful of what makes you happy in life and using that to get through tougher times. Except this time around, all of the things I tap into are not available to me. I can’t physically do any of them… hiking, yoga, motorcycling, or photography. Even knitting is a challenge since my hand is not doing all that well since the crash. So I’m having to explore new ways to achieve the same effect or at least enough to push past this to the next phase of recovery when I can ease back into the things I love.

My mentor and friend, Will Clay, has a lovely little email newsletter he sends out. In the few weeks before my life took a very unexpected turn, he addressed healing in a series of newsletters. Specifically he discussed the ability of nature and art, and by extension, photography, to heal the spirit. As you can imagine, that’s an idea I embrace with gusto. But while I agree with the idea that healing can come from art, nature, and photography, to me there is the broader message of simply using what brings you joy, whatever that may be.

Will says the soul demands to be fed with what nourishes it. I agree. That nourishment is what feeds the healing process and is where joy is born. They are intimately connected. That’s why part of my healing will be returning to motorcycling when I’m able, as well as the other things I love that I’m currently deprived of doing.

What’s so intriguing about joy, though, is that it’s contagious. While I’m recovering, I’m watching my friends do the things that bring them joy and heal from the challenges they face in their lives. They may or may not be the same activities that fill my soul, but that doesn’t matter, it’s their joy that inspires me.

So today I’m hoping you’ll share with me the things you are passionate about, the things that you tap into to heal and find joy. For Will, it’s photography. For me, I have a handful of things I immerse myself in but they fall under the broad category of travel, outdoors, and nature. What do you do that brings you joy and healing?

If you don’t know what your happy place is, be mindful. Pay attention to when you feel lightest or when your troubles seem a little less overwhelming. What are you doing when that healing is happening? Is it photography like my mentor Will Clay? Is it visiting friends, knitting, music, hiking, writing, playing with your children or pets, cooking, or some… (ahem!) adult-time connecting with your partner?

Think big. Think small. But find it. In fact, find a few you can tap into under different circumstances. Use them when you need it most and when you don’t. Nurture that joy so you have a reserve to weather tougher times.

And don’t overlook new things that have the potential to heal the imbalance in your life. If you told me five or ten years ago that motorcycling would be one of my go-to happy things, I would have told you to stop smoking whatever it is you’re smoking. But there’s a reason riders call it throttle-therapy…

And by all means, whatever heals you, share it. Let your joy be contagious. Pay it forward, if you will.

So I leave you with this…

What fuels you?
Follow your bliss, friends.