Looking For Joy

Unbridled Joy

“Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.” ~ Rosalind Russell

“The Universe loves a grateful person. The more you thank Life, the more Life will give you to be thankful for.” ~ Louise Hay

If you’ve listened to my podcast, Story~Power, you know I’m a big classic movie nerd. In times when I’m stressed, I’ll go find a movie, often one I’ve seen dozens of times to help me unplug from the craziness for awhile. This election season has been one of those times when I’ve needed to unplug from the drama of real life and sink into a fictional world where in the end all the loose ends are tied up giving me a deep sense of satisfaction.

Here are a few movies, some old, some newer, that have brought me joy these last weeks. The first is Now, Voyager with Bette Davis, Paul Henried, and Claude Rains. Bette Davis’ character Charlotte goes on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way she falls in love, learns to love herself, and she finds purpose, and joy in living. Those seem to be themes for me because another movie I love is, Easy Virtue with Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Colin Firth in which Jessica Biel’s character marries a young British man of the landed gentry and suddenly finds herself at war with his mother who wants him to marry the girl on the estate next door. Biel’s character is recovering from harrowing experiences, something that her new young husband can’t comprehend. In the end she bonds with his father who lost all his men in WW I. They help each other begin to heal old wounds.

The night of the election Barry, who has a rule about not watching Christmas movies before Thanksgiving, suggested we watch Sleepless In Seattle with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. This is a movie that affirms, miracles can happen. I think we all want to believe in miracles, but we get bogged down and forget to dream, or even ask for them. 

Finally, I highly recommend November Christmas, a 2010 Hallmark Hall of Fame offering staring Sam Elliott, John Corbett, Karen Allen and Sarah Paulson. It’s a story about a family new to a small Massachusetts town. They don’t know many people yet so when their daughter develops cancer, they keep it to themselves. A kind neighbor begins to put things together. He and his wife offer their help. Eventually the news gets out and the people of the town wrap the family in support and love. It’s a quiet movie that sneaks in and touches your heart. 

You probably have your own list of favorite feel good stories. I suggest, if you’re feeling frazzled, to take time out to watch or read an old favorite this weekend. 

Movies are not the only ways I unplug from the daily drama. I look for other little things that help bring me joy. Some of these are, the quail and other birds and wildlife in our yard, a good conversation with a friend, my morning cup of hot chocolate, my meditation time.

I’m also a collector of great quotes to turn to when I need to do a thinking reset. Here are a few of my favorites.

“Everything is figureoutable” by Marie Forleo. In fact, I read Marie’s book by the same title earlier this year mostly because I was trying to figure out how to better promote all my creative projects. Fortunately the book is filled with stories about her single mom, who coined the phrase, and how she figured out how to fix a sink, a radio, and many other things around their home. Marie’s students are mostly women. She teaches them how to build a business using the skills we already have.  She assures her students when we’re not sure what or how to do something we need to build our business, that everything is figureoutable. There are lots of options about how to figure stuff out. She’s right! 

During the summer I read Glennon Doyle’s book, Untamed. It’s a memoir, so it’s filled with stories of things she’s learning while living her life. One thing she says in that book that stuck with me is that “We can do hard things”. I love that because it implies that even though the task ahead might seem daunting, we are capable of accomplishing it. It also implies that we are each responsible for doing the work with great rewards to be gained if we commit to doing the work.

I just finished reading Anne Bogel’s book Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life. One of her tips that has stuck with me is that when you’re tempted to overthink a situation, turn the problem into an experiment. She says that with an experiment, instead of trying to do something perfectly, you are trying to see what the outcome might be. It’s an opportunity to learn something new even if it fails.

And finally, in Pam Grout’s book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit For Rewiring Your Mind, she reiterates the idea that comes up again and again in A Course in Miracles, that love is all there is. Love is the only thing that’s real. Everything else, all the drama that we tend to get caught up in, is illusion. It turns out Shakespeare was right, all the world IS a stage and all the men and women merely players.

Finally, contrary to what the Vulcan’s in Star Trek believe, “Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” ~ Roger C. Schank, Cognitive Scientist. In the first Star Trek movie with the original cast, that’s what Spock discovers. It’s our emotional connection to others that makes life meaningful. A society might function if everyone rejects emotion and uses logic, but there will be little to no joy in it.

I guess that’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about mining stories, to find my connection to the storytellers and the characters they create. Stories help me find answers to my questions about the meaning of life, and how to deal with difficult situations, and to understand why humans do what they do. They show me the consequences of certain actions without having to experience them personally. I think that’s the great blessing of stories. I can learn important lessons from someone else’s experience.

This is the final thing I want to encourage you to think about. Humanity is learning and progressing no matter what events look like in the world right now. I use this analogy all the time, but when you’re cleaning out your closets, you create chaos for awhile. That’s all humanity is going through right now, we’re doing cosmic closet cleaning. We’re deciding what values we want to keep and which ones to get rid of. We’re examining our old ways of conducting business, government, religion, educational and financial institutions, and we’re deciding which is more important, money or people. Change can be scary, but it’s necessary. I would not want to be the same person I was at 20, or 30, or even 40 because as a result of all the personal work I’ve done, I’m finally feeling comfortable about who I am.

Thank you for following, reading, and commenting. I’m hoping we humans learn to appreciate each other.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a new podcast where she and her guests discuss the stories in all formats that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.

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Published by lucindasagemidgorden

I grew up in the West, the descendant of people traveling by wagon train to a new life. Some of their determination and wanderlust became a part of me. I imagine them sitting around the campfire telling stories, which is why I became first a theatre artist, then a teacher and now a writer. They are all ways of telling stories.

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