What Brings You Joy?

I’d like you to sit with that statement for a minute.

Now ask yourself: What brings YOU joy?

It’s confounding to me how very difficult that question can be to answer. I mean, what do you do to create joy for yourself? Do you define yourself as a joyful person?

If one observes children, they know…well, at least children who grew up without TVs in every room and a computer on their hip…know.

I grew up in a big family, with many pets and a family business on the floors below us. I spent a lot time helping out in our shop … helping customers, cleaning, freshening displays and moving merchandise into new vignettes of sales inspiration. I helped when inventories needed doing, brass pots needed buffing, antique window mechanicals needed to be taken apart and new clothes and fur coats designed and made for them. I learned to invent things, read people and find practical/helpful things to do between customers. I learned to love classical music (my Mom knew no other genres) and I learned how much I loved to sing (mostly to the Classical Barbara album since Mom included Streisand in her classical albums.) At 14, I began to help purchasing for the decorative accessory portion of the business. I experienced travel to NYC, Chicago, Atlanta and High Point. Then I learned to drive. I lied, telling my Mom I knew how to drive stick when she was busy with a customer. Oh that first drive in her white MG Midget was tantamount to pure bliss.

We also had a “hold all luxuries” Dodge panel van for the Business, a tiny white Toyota Corolla hatchback for the family car (someday I may expound on the glory of 5 kids, a Mom and a month’s worth of kid clothes every summer for a 4.5 hour trip… to all be dropped off at a maiden aunt’s home.) I learned to love swimming in lakes with my best friend. I learned how to save up for a really good 10 speed…it was purple with white handle bars. I learned how to map a route on back roads to somewhere out of the way and interesting … allowing that I be out bike riding only in sunny hours. I learned to love my hours long walks with our Saint Bernard and German Shepherd … far better listeners than any humans. I learned to love big snows and Spring flowers in the plots I planted outside the shop’s front door. I learned to love to create things through art. I learned that peace was found in nature.

When I read back over that list, I see how our Casita is just an extension of what I knew as fun when I was a kid. I have decorated it, invented solutions for it, mapped out so many purely American oddities and created so many fun trips. We bought the Egg (leaving well used and beloved tents) to accommodate sultry hot summer lake excursions and swims for our dog (He needed to swim, I needed to have AC on sweaty 90+ degree nights. If Momma can’t sleep, ain’t nobody gonna want to be around her tomorrow. Lol)

Details found in an earlier blog post :Sink Board Invention

Small, the Casita is like the the little white MG…presenting a chance to let some miles and fresh air flow through my hair… to let light into a sometimes confusing world.

I like the smallness of the Casita because you can’t purchase too much for it…it just doesn’t fit. You have to decide what is essential and what is just a frustration squeezed in. It’s not pretentious. It can slide into the smallest spaces and it has very few maintenance boxes to check. I like it most because we camp outside of it. Unless it’s heavily snowing or angry gods raining, we are outside meeting other small campers (who are also outside eating and playing), laughing with our dog’s happy chair antics and feeling the heat of the campfire on our faces.

In a sense, the Casita, for us, is just a grand tent with luxuries.

When we travel, I bring along art supplies, kalimba and hand drum but find there isn’t much time to play with them as we fit in so many historical sites and winding trails.

Often, as I sit by the campfire, I wonder about the quality of life. What if the answer to why we are here, is that we come to remember joy. We come to remember what love feels like. Perhaps we come from a place of pure love and have to come here to find contrast. We have to lose the feeling of pure love to learn more about how important it is. It’s the idea of leveling up in a game…the game of remembering to love ourselves.

What if the distractions and quest for bigger and better toys blocks our true purpose: To be joy, to be love, to love each other and to love ourselves??

How sad is it that adults have such a hard time defining what joy means to them?! I thought the last couple years would have taught people more about what is truly important and if it didn’t, what will it take? When will we learn to want less and cherish each other more?

I guess until people figure it out, I’ll be camping in the smaller places and watching the trees move where the wind takes them and trying to harmonize along in each present moment. I’ll be sending you all love, too.

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