Editor’s Post By Deborah Hetrick Catanese
Ali’s recent post “What About Me?” stirred a recollection of an event from when my daughter was little that’s had a lasting positive effect on me.
I recall one lovely spring morning, after I had scurried down the corridor of my sweet little girl’s elementary school to give her the gym bag she had left in my car. As I opened the door to her kindergarten classroom, I was met with unforgettable sights and sounds. ALL the children – along with Mrs. Shanley, their larger than life white-blond haired teacher – were standing and swaying and waving their up-stretched arms back and forth in a “Hosanna”-like fashion, while singing at the top of their exuberant little voices…
This is the Day, This is the Day!
This is the Day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made!
Let us rejoice, let us rejoice!
Let us rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it!
It was the most beautiful, upbeat, joyful melody! And its essence just spoke the truth to me, almost like the effect that a particular hymn from my childhood or some of Bob Dylan’s songs can have. I literally stopped in my paces and watched and listened with a smile plastered all over my face. As the song ended and the children all settled down in their tiny little seats, their sweet little faces all flushed and happy, their teacher turned to me, beaming, and said, “Welcome, Mrs. Catanese. Hope you enjoyed our morning wake up song!”
This vibrant song was unfamiliar to me, even though I had sung in church choir as a pre-teen and Chorus in high school, and I knew LOTS of songs. Yet the melody and words to THIS song immediately captured me and has never let me go! I determined to let this be my morning song, too, and it has served me well over the years whenever I sang it. It has lifted me up in the most trying of times, even if I simply sung it inside myself.
When I walk out of my house and down the driveway each morning to get my daily newspaper, I am often humming this song. And as I do, I look at the world around me and ADMIRE it. It is a simple morning ritual, but I try to do it faithfully, sun or rain, to remind me that no matter the weather or the situation, it’s all a gift and I want to “be glad in it!”
That is when I remind myself to celebrate MY life, MY song, and MY joy. If I get no other “Me Time” for the rest of the day, at least I start my day with it and that alone serves to fill me up. If you asked me what I’ve learned in over 60 years on our precious planet, it would be this… that every one of us needs to find our joy and manifest it.
So, what is it that turns you on?
What is YOUR joy? Is it going dancing on a Friday night? Is it the endorphins that flow after a long run? A trip down a snowy mountain? An amazing pair of shoes? (Sorry, I am obsessed with shoes, LOL!) Do you find joy in spending the afternoon at the Senior Center volunteering? Creating a work of art or writing a poem? Laughing with friends? Listening for the bobcat in the woods? Or, do you love working the soil in your garden? Completing a complicated project? Whiling away the hours at the library? Repeating an affirmation or mantra? Cuddling with your sweetheart? Doing the laundry? Haha, just kidding! But really, whatever floats your boat! Whatever it is you LOVE, that’s the place to be. It makes everything else worthwhile.
But even though I know this deep within me, sometimes I get distracted or worn out, and then I forget that music is the true keeper of my joy. When I fail to play my songs, I risk losing my inner zest, and I can go into funk mode like the crabbiest of us. (Hello, Squidward, Eeyore, and Charlie Brown! You gloomy guys have nothing on me!)
But if I can simply remember to put on that rich voice of Van Morrison crooning about “The Bright Side of the Road” (a bouncing bundle of joyfully packaged notes that has charmed many a recalcitrant type out of a funk!)… well, that song totally grabs hold of me. It shakes and rattles me out of my doldrums and tells me that even when the “road” is bumpy or polluted with traffic jams and terrible drivers, I can call upon my inner joy.
So yes, I am well aware of how easy it is for us Mamas to forget ourselves as we focus on our families and our many tasks, large and small, important and tediously mundane. But without manifesting our joy, our ability to do our job as mothers is at risk of collapsing like a house of flimsy cards, when even a slightly big or slightly bad Wolf could blow it right down.
So, come on, lovely Mamas, tell us how you find your joy. Because, THIS is indeed the day! What exactly would we be waiting for?