“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

When was the last time you felt true unbridled joy? When I really think about it, I can count on both hands the times this year that I’ve been overcome with pure joy. Something more than happiness, something more than contentment… joy. But then I look at my daughter. She has moments of joy every single day. Everything she does in her life she commits to. She commits completely to her joy, never allowing it to be taken from her by comparison or judgement. She also commits full (too fully) to her frustration/sadness/disappointment… I look at my friends toddlers and it seems that this is a pretty common trait among children; having the ability to feel unadulterated emotion, complete and full and without shame.

To feel just, not because you’re supposed to, not because you want to, just because: you do.

I watch children in moments of joy quite often, I’m lucky to be surrounded by lots of wonderful parents and their beautiful kids. For a toddler, joy can come from a great friend, a great game, a wonderful discovery. Joy can come from learning how to do soemthing new, from discovering a rhyme, from finding something funny. Joy can come from the sip of a delicious smoothie, from a bowl of berries, from a perfectly spotted leaf. Or in Bo’s case in the above picture, joy can come from watching a kite take flight for the very first time.

Somewhere along the way we lose it a little. We get too caught up in expectation and comparison. We get too caught up in the mundane that we forget that within that mundane, are moments that lend themselves to spectacular joy.

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile… but what if your smile was infact the source of the joy? I have been rolling this idea around in my mouth a bit lately, speaking it out loud, wondering how it all works… and you know, it’s profound but it’s also pretty accurate. When you allow yourself to see the world through the eyes of a child (your own inner child perhaps), when you allow yourself to just smile… the joy bursts back in.

Simple moments are where the joy lives… maybe we’ve just been too busy to see them all along.

  • October 27, 2014 - 8:02 am

    Life With The Crew - When was the last time I felt joy? Today, actually! I ran a half marathon today on a beautiful course, in beautiful weather, with my loving family cheering me on. I was pushing my body because I had the choice, not because I had to flee for my life. I actually had a smile on my face while I ran (for a short time!)ReplyCancel

  • October 28, 2014 - 2:15 am

    Emma - Joy huh! i definately have been lacking my normal joy been blur kinda few days. My boys bring me joy making stuff and painting listening to music hearing them chuckle.of listening to their conversations. Its the little things that bring me joy and sometimes we are too busy to notice them xxxx gorgeous photos of Bo bless herReplyCancel

“Times are difficult globally; awakening is no longer a luxury or an ideal. It’s becoming critical. We don’t need to add more depression, more discouragement, or more anger to what’s already here. It’s becoming essential that we learn how to relate sanely with difficult times. The earth seems to be beseeching us to connect with joy and discover our innermost essence. This is the best way that we can benefit others.”
―    Pema Chodron

I’ve spent most of my life beating myself up. Constantly plagued with an inner voice that quietly sabotages me, damning me to a state of social anxiety and self doubt. When my husband had an affair I was perhaps at the lowest point that I have been in my life, a point where I was completely and utterly shattered… but there is something very powerful about hitting rock bottom, when you get there, the only way out is up. At some point I decided that being miserable, that feeling helpless, that being jaded was nothing more than self destructive.

I had to learn to allow myself to be vulnerable, I had to learn that surrendering was not the same as giving up – that to surrender to emotion, to surrender to a child, to surrender to a situation is to accept and to trust and to lean back into the emotion. With that surrender comes acceptance, and acceptance frees us of hate.

We live in a world that is shrouded in a lot of hate and a lot of inequality. We live in a society where the way we value human beings is intrinsically unjust. We can’t change that in one fell swoop. We can’t fight hate with hate. Many of you have asked me how it is possible to live an alternate lifestyle alongside those who choose the norm…

We cannot change other people. What we can do is surrender, to yield gently and without judgement, to live peacefully within towns and communities that may not be built on the same values that we build our families on. We can yield and make choices every day that make small and positive changes in our own lives, when we are happier, when we are more generous, when we live connected – the rest will follow. We must trust this, because when we doing we get caught in a spiral of desperation – when we start to believe that we cannot make change, we start to lose hope for a better world. We can encourage (through our own actions) a system that is based on the value of human connection, not on competition. We can encourage a world that we want to live in, purely by living alongside our neighbours peacefully.

One lifestyle is not intrinsically ‘better’ than another – we are all doing the best that we can, with what we have. There is no space for judgement.

When we trust in the good in one another (and in ourselves); we shine light on the good that already lives within.

Trust each other. Surrender to each other. Build relationships with new people. Relationships that are built on trust and equality not on competition and comparative lifestyles. Make every transaction an opportunity for human connection. With connection comes relationships, with relationships comes community.

We are all in this together.

We’ve been lucky to have been blessed with good light and warm sunny spots in every home we’ve camped out in over the past months of transitional living. I love a good sunny spot to warm my hands and feet, to read a book (I’ve just started really reading again, it feels like a guilty pleasure that I forgot all about – and now I’m up at all hours of the night reading ‘just one more chapter’), to drink a cup of tea, to read stories with Bo, to draw pictures… but most of all, to eat lunch.

There is something very simple about enjoying good food in the warmth of the spring sunshine.

Simple is good. This recipe is both of those things.

Side note: Any awesome book recommendations? Preferably ones that can be found in a regional library – OR if you live in the South West, one I can borrow? I’m devouring books like lost friends now that I’m no longer studying… I just can’t get enough.

WARM SPRING SALAD + KALE/CASHEW PESTO

Ingredients

For the Warm Salad:

6-12 small organic carrots (large would work well but you’ll have to slice them lengthwise)
2 beetroot
1 heads garlic
fresh lettuce greens
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp raw honey
1 tsp water
sesame seeds

For the Pesto:

3 cups packed kale
1/2 cup parmesan
1 cup soaked cashews
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 clove garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon
good quality olive oil
salt + pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 180c.

Wash and prepare root vegetables (peel or scrub as you see fit), chopping the beetroot into quarters and place in a deep dish baking pan along with the garlic cloves. Mix water, oil, honey and balsamic together and liberally splash the vegetables with the dressing, sprinkle the tray with sesame seeds and place in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes.

I bake the veggies until they are tender and still have plenty of texture, when the seeds are toasted and the dressing has caramalised nicely in the pan.

In a high powered blender/food processor add parmesan, cashews, sunflower seeds and garlic and pulse until you have a gritty sandy texture. Add kale (tough stalks removed), about 1/2 a cup of olive oil, a couple of good pinches of quality sea salt and the lemon juice and process until you reach a smooth consistency, add a little more olive oil if necessary to achieve the consistency you desire (I like mine quite thick, but a little more olive oil will make it smoother).

Layer the warm veggies in a bowl with fresh greens, top with generous dots of pesto and enjoy warm and delicious.

Tastes an awful lot like spring, doesn’t it?