I never intend much, I generally just see how things pan out. This blog started out with the intention to be a space for spiritual things: workshops; event; quotes and such like. Anything goes, I suppose. So, in my mind it seems right to write about running, or walking, yoga, dancing, even sex, perhaps recipes and books too. All these things are actions that lead along the path of happiness. It’s wise to never rule anything out. I do not pretend to be very enlightened, certainly not more than the average person. I have learned a few things along the way, though, about what brings peace. What within me answers the call of joy.
I’ve noticed that joy calls very subtly: often its call is hidden in what I can only describe as the false urge of materialistic values. ‘If you run you’ll be all fit-looking and slim’. ‘If you eat fresh vegetables and forage from the Earth then it’s better for you than eating cake and biscuits’, ‘don’t drink beer, it makes you bloated and that doesn’t feel very nice, does it?’ ‘Do your yoga, NOW! If you don’t you’ll feel regret and guilt.’ The mind races through all of these options, day in and day out, from moment to moment. It is true that we are paying rent on our bodies, and just like if we choose to pay rent for a beautiful house, then the rent must be kept up, or we lose that which makes us comfortable. Our bodies demand rent, to keep healthy and well, to keep fit, to sleep in security and comfort, without the chasing dreams of drunkenness or lack of movement during the day. But, how do we quieten the mind of these false urges and find the simple urge of joy beneath?
It takes patience and practice to release ourselves from these urges, yet keep the well-intended habits that these negative urges have created. It takes a good, objective look at those things that we say to ourselves which seem like sense on the surface, but are actually trapping us in a cycle of negative reactions. It takes patience and love of ourselves, and, simply, it takes thinking about ourselves just a little bit better. Instead of ‘don’t do that, you’re letting yourself down’ running and re-running in our heads, change the tune to ‘let’s do THIS!’ and do a wonderful thing for yourself. If that small negative urge cannot be quietened, then that’s ok too, just look at it square in the face and let it carry on, just ignore it, as a bigger child may do to an irritating younger sibling.
This is why this blog has snippets of dawn walks in it, pictures of my muddy running shoes, some day I’ll post yoga asanas on here, recipes from better cooks than I, trees that have been hugged and ground that has produced wild garlic to eat on a chilly walk. These small things in themselves are how I answer the beckoning of joy within me. I’ve never managed to quieten that nagging voice within that demands its rent. But I have learned to be better at ignoring it. Like setting up a direct debit, I suppose. Everyone’s happy. And that, surely, is what it’s all about in the very end.
This morning, Dog and I went for our dawn walk as usual, and stood for a little while under a tawny owl, as it hooted softly to itself. Owl looked down at Dog, as he snuffled waggily in the undergrowth after smells undecipherable to me. Deciding that we were just worth ignoring, Owl flew silently off to its next perch, leaving us to walk home, Earth-bound and ready for a coffee and a spot of breakfast. Joy waits everywhere, we just need the senses to find it.