from 4.4.22 newsletter
I spent the week feeling a bit overwhelmed and ill, so I took the time to revisit some of my favorite pieces of writing (if you’re looking for recommendations: adrienne maree brown’s, Pleasure Activism, Clarissa Pinkola Estés’, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, and some writings on Katonah Yoga from Nevine Michaan). Ever since, I have been contemplating pleasure and joy and how to connect with them even in the midst of chaos or the general unrelenting busyness of capitalism. Nevine Michaan always says, “joy is inherent when one shows up at the right place, at the right time,” and something about that line finally rang true for me this week.
I thought of the joy I get out of taking my hikes during golden hour (right place, right time), the disappointment of showing up to a restaurant after it has already closed (right place, wrong time), or the feeling of getting caught in the rain without an umbrella (wrong place, right time, and in my good shirt, too). Through this lens, we could chalk joyless experiences up to some sort of unlucky timing, but maybe poor planning is also partially to blame. Often, we have a choice what we do with our time, even if we don’t always believe that. How many of us spend three or more hours mindlessly scrolling on our phones each day (iPhone folks, check your Screentime settings if you want to feel like you’re in the matrix) and then say we don’t have any time to nap or take a breath or sit down for 20 minutes to have tea with a friend?
Or we choose not to check the restaurant hours beforehand or look at what the weather is going to be that day and wind up having a shit time when things don’t go right. If all we have to do is find the right place at the right time, why does that feel like an unattainable celestial alignment rather than something we can plan for and make space for?
Personally, I know how often I can get in my own way, even after planning to do that thing I want or need to do. That’s why I have started asking myself a few questions every morning to try and move towards joy.
Where am I going too much?
Where am I not going enough?
It’s an easy way to sort through what I want for the day and identify shit that might hold me up ahead of time. If I want a quiet day inside and need to cultivate rest, it’s probably best not to check my email every 10 minutes (very guilty of that), or answer every message that comes my way. If I am struggling to get my work done by a deadline, maybe it’s time to cut down on binge-watching Critical Role twelve hours a day (seriously though, The Legend of Vox Machina, anyone?) and spend some dedicated hours on that time-sensitive project.
It’s not a perfect recipe. Sometimes life really does get in the way or throw us a shitstorm we can’t “time management” our way out of and we just have to ride it out. However, there’s something to be said for picking the time and place, making sure you have the details set, and actually being there. No matter if you want to write that book, finish that project, spend more time socializing, or get some goddamn peace and quiet, there’s not much joy in it if you don’t actually get there.
Feel free to share your thoughts with me as we begin this week together.