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Jul 25, 2011

What brings you joy?

Friends, there are times when so much awfulness seems to be occurring in the world, on so many fronts, that it can leave one feeling very discouraged -- or is it just me?

At periods like these, it can be helpful to remember that no matter what may be happening "out there," we always retain the power to create positive change in our immediate communities, in our families, and in ourselves.

We can start by making joy a priority in our own lives. 

Focusing on joy doesn't mean we stop caring about the world.  But by prioritizing joy, I believe we are, in some small way, making the world a happier, more loving, and even more peaceful place.

Every so often, I like to make a list of the things that bring me joy, and make sure I'm doing at least some of them on a regular basis.  Here are a few of the things on my list:

Spending time with those I love.

Developing my talents and sharing them with others.

Meeting new people.

Making time to explore, think, and just "be."

None of these cost money, though if developing your talents means sewing silk taffeta ball gowns, you might need to cough up so dough.  And sometimes meeting your financial responsibilities can leave little time for "making time to just 'be.'"

My larger point is that it's easy to get wrapped up in negativity and bad news and forget that in our own immediate world, where we can have the greatest impact, we can do almost anything we set our mind to. 

I'll be away from blogging till Friday.  This week, think about what truly brings you joy in life.  I think most of us share a love of sewing, so we already have a creative outlet that brings us joy.

One of my inspirations is the late singer Peggy Lee.  Are you familiar with her?  Despite health problems and personal setbacks, she never lost her joy in performing.  Hearing her sing always brings a smile to my face, and I love watching her playful style and sly, sophisticated glamour.  She was a true light.

Here's a bit of Peggy in action!

A great Peggy Lee song.

In closing, friends, what brings you the most joy, and do you remember to do these things?  If not, where do you get stuck -- money, time, courage, support?

Is there anything you love to do that you're not doing?  Perhaps this summer is the time to begin!

Have a joyful week, everybody!


  1. Children, family - my wedding anniversary today...btw, I am so happy to see NY's new law passed. You know you want to sew for a wedding!

  2. Peter, I want to say THANK YOU for this post. :) I often enjoy reading your witty pieces, but this one is a bit more serious and hit home for me today. Having been through a lot in my personal life of late (ups and downs), I sometimes get caught up in how much life is weighing down on me, instead of looking for the good and joyful things! You're so right: sometimes we do get stuck and forget to pursue those things that bring joy! :)

    For me, of late I'm rediscovering my love of drawing (and hopefully soon, watercolors). I just haven't made time in the past few years, yet I still have all my supplies. A few minutes here and there sketching each day has brought me so much joy, offers some quiet and meditative time, and expands my horizons a bit. :)

    Hope you have a good week!

  3. Thanks for this. Started out the morning by completely forgetting my computer password so was feeling pretty dumb. Your piece got me back on track. Heard an interview with Smokey Robinson (of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles) last night. I was impressed by the joy he took in performing and how happy he sounded when he discussed the delight he took in performing.

  4. Thanks for this post. It's way too easy to get dragged down by darkness and difficulties. I have to keep reminding myself to focus on the good things too, even if they are sometimes mixed up with the sad. It does seem that the things that really do bring joy are pretty simple. For me, it's laughing at something silly with my family, enjoying some time outside and doing creative things.

  5. I Love Peggy Lee. One of MY favorites is this one

    My children, pets and hubby bring me joy.

    Creating, though all different means brings me joy.

    Making others smile and bringing joy to their world brings me joy.

    See you Friday.

  6. Always important to remember! This week, I'm on vacation & doing something that always brings me great joy -- I'm going to Costume College ( ). I've been going for years & I often teach too. I see friends, I learn something new, I wear fancy clothes, & my creative spark is rekindled. It's the highlight of my costuming year in many ways.

    I hope everyone has something that brings them joy this week & every week.

  7. While I love to sew (I'm a professional seamstress) and create mixed media art and art dolls, I'd have to say what brings me the most joy on a consistent basis is reading. Novels, art books, gardening books, cookbooks, personal growth - I love it!

    Books never give you any trouble. They don't break (like thread or needles), they don't jam, pucker or otherwise flub up. I love to sit with my kitties and my blanket (unless it's ungodly hot as it's been lately) and a book and just lose myself in the words...

    If anyone out there knows a way a person can earn a really good living by reading books LET ME KNOW! Happy week, all. And though I'm not nearly as entertaining a blogger as Peter, if you need a sewing-blog-fix before Friday, come on over and visit me.

  8. What an appropriate post for today....I just blogged about getting my "SewJo" back; & it was all about doing some of things that bring me joy. (Sewing usually does, but when everything is being mucked up, it's time to turn elsewhere!)

    I love that you talk about "Be-ing" - this is a life practice for me (hence my blogging name). ([Note: I did say "practice"; as opposed to "perfect"] ;-D.......The practice of BEing (aware, present, grounded), while DOing all of that daily life stuff, is what allows my life to flow in a healthy and joyful manner. It's valuable to me to have the time and space to practice creativity in my DOing, so I'm super thankful to have the sewing bug back in my life, and the community (like this amazingly informative and entertaining group of bloggers) that has entered my life along with the sewing.

    May we all allow a little more joy into our life today (& it's always today, right?), and remember that we ALWAYS have a choice about how we react to any situation........ :)

    Thanks for contributing SO much to this community, Peter! Your presence here brings me joy. :)

  9. Peter I love the Garland clip. Thanks for that! A little bit of joy indeed!

  10. Thanks for that Peter, Peggy's dress was lovely, a time when people really had some style.

  11. I love to laugh -- that is my favorite way to feel joy. With friends, with family -- over a game of Taboo or at something absurd I come across. Today, I shared with colleagues at work the email that arrived with the contrite remark: "we are sorry for the incontinence." A few of us had a good giggle at that verbal mishap. Laughing and then admiring what beauty so many people make every day . . . Thanks Peter. I come here knowing I will find both kinds of joy. Yes, this weekend brought news that stunned and stung. Your blog felt like a wonderful "reset" button. Thank you.

  12. Good post. I keep seeing the internet quotation asking "what would you have if you only had what you thanked God for yesterday?" Religious or not, it's a good thing to keep in mind. Life is wonderful; don't let the little stuff keep you from appreciation of it.

    Oh, Ms. Lee. I've loved her ever since she did the voice of the vavoom purse/pound dog in "The Lady and the Tramp." (The versions I've found all have dog noises in the background, which is a shame; she's the very definition of "moxie.")

    I love seeds and hot glue guns and my 50's patent leather shoes with the see-through high heels. They're all in my life as often as I can get a hold of them. You can't be unhappy when you're wearing shiny red plexiglass heels at the grocery.

  13. Thank you for this post. There has been a great deal of sadness internationally and we have been struggling here at home as well. I have found joy in the last few days crocheting with some lovely yarn I found on sale last week at JoAnn. It's just the house brand but it is called Sublime, and it is! It's an acrylic/rayon blend. I'm making a lap throw/wrap in turquoise and red. Thanks for the "joyful" reminder!

  14. A few weeks ago I happened to be searching the Threads magazine web site and came across an article about the malepatternboldness blog and decided to see what it is all about. Since then, I have been checking in when I can and read the posts that people make...and I must say I am awed by the enthusiasm displayed by so many of you. This is my first blog but it certainly looks like something I would like to be involved in...

    Peter's topic today about making a list of things that bring you joy prompted me to jump in here, especially with his question "Is there anything you love to do that you're not doing?" The older I get the more often I try to ask myself this very question....

    There are many things that bring me joy, like laughing with family & friends, walking in the woods, cooking (and eating), reading, and chocolate!...but since I started my journey into self-awareness a few years ago my perspective on many things has changed...

    So in answer to Peter's question, something that I have always wanted to do that brings me joy is to sew and be creative...but each year that passes I tell myself I'll get to it next year...but I never I hope this is the year for me in which I not only dream about sewing, but actually sew my dreams....

    I am very glad to have found this site...Thank you Peter for your sharing and creativity....already many of you have been inspirational for me! I look forward to learning more about sewing and hope to share in everyone's passion for sewing....

  15. Oh Peter, you're such a bright light in my day. Being outside in the garden, bush walking, horse riding, learning new things, (and of course sewing) bring me joy. Must try to do at least one this week.

  16. Thanks, Peter. Great message at a time when the whole world really needs it. My daughter. My husband. My friends. My dogs. Sewing (of course!). Trying new things and going new places. The first moment after I get all snuggled into bed for the evening and the get the pillows "just right." :)

  17. I used to sing my daughters to sleep with Peggy Lee songs. Her voice is so silky.

    What brings me joy? Singing with a choir. Cooking for friends and family. Sewing. My dogs. Hanging out with my friends. The Hollywood Bowl. New shoes. You and your blog.

    What gets in the way? Having to work for a living-- leaves very little actual time for living.

  18. I am SO with you on this post! If we did not see the news what have we lost? Nothing. It's easy to be consumed with the negativity, violence and devastation on a worldwide basis but what if you did without? There is a peace when you avoid the media and focus on your own goals and accomplishments.

    My partner, my dog and my sewing make me happy.

  19. Here's a thing that made me joyful today. Coming back from a work meeting I passed a young guy outside a hairdressers having a quick smoke.. with his hair in curlers. An older man passing turned to me and said 'oh, first bloke I've seen in rollers' and we smiled. I think- I hope- we were smiling because we live in a world now where if a guy wants his hair curled he can have his hair curled! And if a girl wants to ignore what's fashionable she can do that too. Rejoice that the bells of freedom ring for trivial causes and hope that they continue to ring for great ones as well.
    And Peter, your blog adds a tiny bit to the sum total of joy in the world. Spending five minutes contemplating whether Cathy would be happier with or without a black velvet trim on that cocktail dress and knowing that quite a few people with lots more playful creativity than me are thinking about the same thing makes me feel joyful.

  20. Peter, you did it again!

    Joy is the fuel for living.

    For me, it's creating an artful envelope or postcard, and filling someone's mailbox with the unexpected. The people at the post office enjoy them too.

    Awaiting your return.

  21. Wearing purple hair, being silly with my husband, playing imagination games with my nephews, flowered pants, the color orange, and being caught red handed eating cold chunks of watermelon out of the fridge with the door wide open...

  22. A lot of things bring me joy, among them sewing, but the most joy definitely comes from being with my son (three months old).

  23. You wrote..... and just "be."

    Today, in the worst way I needed to be reminded of that.

    Thank you so much.

  24. All those couple getting married in NY. That is the only thing that has made me happy lately. The utter joy on their faces was so wonderful. May it come to all our states soon.

  25. Today, your blog brings me joy! I spent the week reading through all the archives, and I had an absolute blast. I'm looking forward to being a regular reader. Thank you for being here!


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