Community

 

Things that Spark Joy

“Things that spark joy”. These words embody exactly what I want this blog to be about (for myself). 

So, when I started seeing and hearing these words all around me this week, of course, I started to pay attention. Apparently, Marie Kondo is captivating the nation with her “life-changing magic of tidying up” and her new Netflix special has sent everyone into their own drawers and closets to clear out the clutter and focus on the things that matter.  Her approach is simple, yet effective - determine which items in our space “spark joy” and get rid of the things that don’t.  Hell yes. 

My goal for 2019 is to take a similar approach to life. Recognize the things in my life that spark joy, and expel the things that do not.  For me, this journey isn’t really about material things. I already downsized my physical belongings to about 10% what I owned before moving into a van.  That process was life changing for me and I hope to never go back to so much clutter and “stuff”.

 
Signs are everywhere, even as I window shop around Portland, OR last weekend

Signs are everywhere, even as I window shop around Portland, OR last weekend

Before we approach the how, we must understand the what 

I moved into a van thinking it would help me spark joy in my life. I wanted nothing more than to feel passion and excitement and I thought this was a way to make more room in my life to pursue things I had been previously procrastinating or avoiding.   While there are a million good things that did come out of that experience - understanding what sparks joy in my life was not one of them. However, a few important takeaways I did learn are: 

  1. I can not expect the universe to help me when I am not willing to help myself. 

  2. I don’t have to do it alone - I need my community. 

Community

Community. This is a huge topic to tackle and I almost didn’t write about it this week because I’m scared I can’t do it justice. I expected the Tip Jar to be about smaller, tangible things that spark joy, like books, music, art, my morning cup of coffee. However, I have realized I can’t get to appreciation for those smaller things without first addressing the single most significant thing that brings me joy right now - my community. 

I have a special appreciation for my alone time. It’s important to my mental health and well being - it provides time for me to reflect, check in with myself, and just be who I am in that moment without putting on any armor for the outside world. 

I also have a huge appreciation for time spent with the people I love. 

Each side of this equation would not be the same without the other.  An unexpected struggle for me was that moving into a van made both of these very difficult - I was never really alone and I also didn’t feel a part of my community. 

True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging does not require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.
— Brene Brown

'Fitting in' is not important, true belonging is what matters

Brene Brown says that true belonging is “a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get comfortable and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are.”  Easy right?! No, freaking hard. So in order to be effective in a relationship, we must first be in touch with who we are. 

There is also another side to that equation. While self awareness is important within a relationship, I also like the idea that relationships with other people can actually help us on our own path to self. 

It’s important to know who we are, but it’s also important to know who we are in relation to other people. We are be given an opportunity to evolve in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without another person.  Not to mention that surrounding ourselves with authentic community helps us face challenging circumstances in a way that we can not do alone.

In other words, by giving myself to my community - I may actually get more self back. 

 
I just got back from a long weekend with these special cousins of mine in Portland, OR. A fresh reminder of how important it is to lean on and embrace community. (Not pictured here because she’s taking this photo, but still just as important: Jess <3)

I just got back from a long weekend with these special cousins of mine in Portland, OR. A fresh reminder of how important it is to lean on and embrace community. (Not pictured here because she’s taking this photo, but still just as important: Jess <3)

This week’s favorite (and relevant) podcasts: 

 

Tell me what you’re listening to this week in the comments below!

 
Megan CableComment