First, you need to stop.
Stop trying to make Joy your bitch.
Peel your fingers off the hem of her cloak.
She doesn’t respond well
to your frenzied attempts to master her.
“Oh, but the letting go…” you say,
“My heart is torn open
and I don’t know when this river will stop
flowing from my eyes.”
“Will she ever come back?” you cry,
desperate, lost, lonely.
I’m here to tell you that she will.
In the most unexpected ways.
But only when you extend the invitation.
and leave the rest up to her.
Joy responds well to invitation.
Grab a paintbrush and write the invitation on a big bold canvas.
Joy will meet you there in the middle of the mess.
Sink down on the floor and welcome her.
Wrap the invitation around your body.
Dance like a wild woman or run through the woods.
Joy will emerge with the sweat through your skin.
Let the invitation flow with your funeral tears.
Joy will be there in each remembered story
you share with the loved one lost.
Whisper the invitation into the wind
as you stand at the roots of an impossibly tall tree.
Joy will be the breeze that rustles the leaves.
Plant the invitation in the moist Spring earth.
Joy will grow in the compost made up of
many deaths from seasons past.
Crumple the invitation into a ball and toss it
into the circle of friends who gather to support you.
Joy will be the fire in the middle that keeps you warm.
Send the invitation off on the wings of a butterfly
joy will flutter past and remind you that her presence
can only come through the caterpillar’s surrender.
There is only one way to create joy.
Extend the invitation.
And then prepare your heart for her arrival.
Note: This post was inspired by Jen Louden, Susannah Conway, and Marianne Elliot, three beautiful souls who are hosting a Creative Joy Retreat that will be luscious, fun, and inspiring. The post will be part of a free e-book that will be available soon..