“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” – Lao Tzu
Tapping into my soft side brings me joy. When I do this, I stop swimming upstream. I receive. I nurture.
When I was younger I LOVED to bake and do arts and crafts.
As an adult I stopped doing those things and even looked down on them because I got too focused on the entrepreneur/manager mindset. “My time is precious – I have better things to do like make money.”
Doing things like crafts brings me joy if I’m in a present headspace. In the moment. Process-oriented. Mindful. Not point A to point B. Have you ever roved a wool doll before? Pure joy.
I also really got into cooking and baking again after spending my first Christmas in New Jersey with my in-laws. My husband has a big family. His mom along with all his aunts and uncles cook together. They make cookies from recipes that were passed down from generations. It reminded me to find joy in the process. There was also a lot of joy in eating all of it!
It’s constant practice to slow down, be present, and enjoy the process.
Recently I took the metro in LA with friends instead of hopping in my car. The car would have been faster, but I enjoyed the quality time with friends.
The sun was setting so the light was warm and golden. We stopped to get iced mochas. I enjoyed getting to talk to my friends while on the metro without having to look at the road. I talked about writing my book. They gave me feedback. It was much more joyful than being stuck in my car, and I’d rather have 2 hours of JOY than 45 minutes of “eh.”
These habits make me an all around happier person because as long as I’m in the mindset of, “It’ll be good someday…” I’ll never be truly happy.
If that’s the case, after I accomplish whatever I wanted (getting to the destination, getting that promotion, meeting that person, booking that client), a new problem will arise for me to fix and be unhappy about.
I also want to acknowledge that activities like baking or crafting don’t produce happiness for everyone. If you don’t like doing that stuff, don’t do them! The most important thing is to know what brings you joy.
I keep a post-it taped to my laptop with a list of things that bring me joy (to remind myself on crappy days):
On my list:
– Trying new things
– Going to the dog park
– Traveling to new places
– French cafes
– Witty, funny people
Whenever I’m feeling down or stuck, I reference that post-it that is taped to my laptop. “Oh yeah, I can go to the dog park during lunch.”