Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Worthiness Wednesday #51 Many words for joy

It was a pretty trying weekend in our house. My husband was worn out from a very stressful work week. I was lumbering along with a sinusy head cold. Our little ‘un was more or less back on track after three weeks of one-ailment-after-another.

The onset of illness usually brings out some frenetic domestic activity in me. But after a bit of coaxing towards self-care (and a couple of stern words from my husband) I ran myself a lovely hot bath, read a book from cover to cover, went to bed early.

Thank goodness I did. My little ‘un woke crying with an ear ache at about 10pm. Some paracetamol, a lot of Shaun the Sheep and a dozen stories later, we managed to settle her back to sleep. As I went back to bed, I found myself meditating on the very real possibility that it was going to be “one of those nights” and that I probably wouldn’t get much sleep.

I was right. We were up every two hours, for two hours. I agreed to stay with my little ‘un in her “big girl bed”, partly to give her comfort and partly to ensure that we wouldn’t disturb my husband (so at least one of us would be functioning, come sunrise). We got up, we took paracetamol, we watched a lot more Shaun the Sheep, we gently sipped water. We climbed into bed, we read books, we cuddled and fell into feverish exhausted sleep. Then did it all again two hours later.

Somewhere in the dim recesses of 3am a sentence formed loud and luminous in my mind.

There are many words for joy: use the ones you need.

In the morning, after catching up on some sleep and sustenance, I stopped to ponder. What were the words I needed, to find the joy in the past 24 hours?

I recalled: the sound of my little girl’s deep sleep breathing; her kisses when she woke and saw me lying next to her; the victory in each little sip of water; the heavenly smell and perfect weight of my lavender eye pillow; raisin toast and earl grey tea; pyjamas all day; mindful capturing of delicious moments (thanks to Sunday Snippets). There was joy in relief, in comfort.

I also remembered: my husband and me gently checking-in with each other; the great big leave pass to stop and heal and enjoy whatever was possible to enjoy; the probability that the worse case scenarios were unlikely; knowing that it would pass. There was joy in faith.

But there was also: struggling with my helplessness to “fix” everything; feeling misunderstood in my fears; frustration at having to suppress my own unwellness. The joy here was less obvious, and it was a different sort of joy, but it was there nonetheless. There was joy in being open to all my feelings, in allowing space for my imperfections.

This week, there may be moments when you struggle. These moments could be big, like staring into the abyss of self-loathing and despair. Or they could be smaller and more everyday, like worrying how you're ever going to get it all done, or just wishing you could have some time out.

This week, in these moments, I offer you a firm hand to hold. And a lavender eye pillow and some small sips of water and the sound of a little person’s deep sleep breathing. And I say to you: there are many words for joy. And they might not be the obvious ones. But they are your words nonetheless.

I'm not saying that we should doggedly look for the positive in any given situation. Sure, we could choose to focus on the comfort and relief. In my experience, this is never really enough to change anything. And let's face it: some stuff just sucks. But there is a lot of grace to be found in those sucky moments, if we just let them happen.

And sometimes, clinging onto that grace is all that we have.

This week, as you travel through your story, use the words you need. You may be surprised at the joy nestled among them.

Be sure to check back next week for a little celebration of one year of worthiness, and a super-sweet giveaway!


  1. One year of worthiness. Wow! What an amazing achievement. Look forward to it.

    I'm reading about Buddhism at the moment and this post resonates perfectly with what I'm reading.

    "There are many words for joy: use the ones you need". I'm writing that down and putting it up somewhere in my studio. {I think that would make a beautiful art piece too}

  2. I second Cathy on the quote for 'joy words' - it is a well turned phrase and worthy of artwork to enhance it's full meaning =-)

    Congratulations on the Year of Worthiness Wednesdays Kat! It is a wonderful weekly ritual I've come to look forward to and meditate upon. Thank you for sharing your own struggles at finding your worth - they are inspiring posts and help us all to see that we each struggle with feeling worthy in our own ways.