The Joy Diet, Ingredient #7: Play

This week is Play week for the participants in Jamie Ridler’s The Next Chapter book blogging group, and we are reading Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life.

Alas, this week has not felt very much like play for me.

My day job has had me, up until today, slammed with things that have to be done right this minute and with cuckoo, off-the-wall requests.  I had trouble sleeping through the night up until last night as the other three occupants of the house prowled and made noise at all hours of the night.  I’ve felt like I may be fighting off some kind of stomach bug…In short, it’s just been one of those weeks in which you’re ecstatic to see the weekend finally come.

Also, my time doing Nothing has gone right out the window in the past two weeks.  A few times I’ve taken, maybe, five or ten minutes, but none whatsoever this work-week.   I had to make that confession, as, in hindsight, doing Nothing would have helped get everything else I had on my to-do list go a lot more smoothly.  But, you live, you learn, right?

Now, for the discussion of the chapter at hand…

I love Beck’s concept of what our real careers are, that they are the ways in which we want to change the world, whether large or small, and the experiences that will allow us to feel we’ve lived a satisfying life, as opposed to the generally accepted meaning of “career”, being “the means by which we make our money.”    She asked two questions (pp. 137-138) to guide the reader toward his or her real career, which questions–with my answers–are as follows:

When your life is over, how do you want the world to be different–in large ways or small–because you have lived?

I want to have contributed to the beauty in the world by using my photographs to show the beauty that’s all around us if we just take the time to look, by making art, and by writing.  I want to write novels that people will while away comfortable, enjoyable hours with in overstuffed armchairs, that make them dream, and take them on journeys through the imaginary place where the possible meets the impossible.  I want to learn and practice reiki, so that I can participate in healing, one person at a time.  I want the charitable organizations that I support to have grown and flourished, to have made strides in reaching their goals.

What experiences must you have to feel you’ve lived a completely satisfying life?

I want to travel abroad, and to Oregon, and capture bits of those journeys for myself, my loved ones, and others in the general public.  I want to have found the place that is my home, that feels like a true home, somewhere that nurtures me, somewhere I can live this life I want, unlike the place in which I currently live.  I want to fall deeply in love, and to stay there, with that love being returned, to find my soulmate.  I want to have at least one child, and I want that child or each of those children to know that he or she is deeply loved and wonderful as he or she is.   I want to be a published author, and to have at least one gallery show of photography or art, or a mixture of the two.  I want to learn and practice reiki, as I said above.  I want to laugh with friends, and make good food regularly, and let go of all the things I’m holding onto that do not serve me, and make that a continual process.  I want to learn to be my true self openly, rather than hiding behind a forest of masks, despite what others may think of me.

Something else I learned from this chapter is that the game I’m spending most of my life playing, my day job, is only serving my “real life” by allowing me to save up the financial nest egg I will need to fund chasing my dreams.  It does take time away from my “real career” (though I am still practicing elements of my “real career” in my free time), I’m not having fun, I’m mediocre at it (and could only be good at it if lobotomized), though I do like my teammates for the most part, and, in one instance, my boss wound up being my photography patron as mentioned in last week’s post.  For now, this is enough to ask of this particular game.  However, it’s not a game I’m going to want to continue playing indefinitely, and I’m ending my play of it in late-April next year at the latest.

Oh, how I love, love, love the concepts of “mouse vision” and “eagle vision”!  Right now, my “eagle vision” is doing very well.  My “mouse vision”, however, could use some improvement in locating tiny steps to take between here, Point A, and there, Point B, where the “eagle vision” big dreams are in certain areas, like the Big Move and figuring out how to, eventually, maybe, hopefully, make money doing what I love.  Right now, my inner mouse just wants to go somewhere and sleep, hoping that, when she wakes up, she’ll magically be closer to Point B in those areas.  That’s just this week, though.  I anticipate, with some prodding–and playing!–that “mouse vision” will improve.

One place “mouse vision” is working is in my participation in NaNoWriMo, where I am “playing” at writing a novel.  If I finish this one, even if it’s horrid, I’ll know that I can, in fact, get a novel down on paper.  The next mouse step will be honing that craft through practice.  Also, as I’ve stated previously, the “mouse vision” step toward the photography dreams has been getting out and about in nature and snapping away at every opportunity.  Art is on the back burner, but my mouse knows how to go about doing that, too: just do it!

All in all, I found the chapter fulfilling, even if my daily practice of The Joy Diet was spotty, even having “one of those weeks”.  I am clearer–ever more so–on what I want out of this one wild, crazy life.

How was Play week for you, fellow Joy Dieters?  Fun, or at least fulfilling, I hope!

Here’s to looking forward to the next week of Laughter!

Categories: The Next Chapter | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “The Joy Diet, Ingredient #7: Play

  1. It sounds to me like you have done an incredible job with this chapter even though you work has been crazy. I think the eagle vision/mouse vision will also help me to get to the goal I have set for myself. Have a great weekend.

  2. I too, loved the mouse and eagle views. I can relate. Great post.

  3. It seems like you received great information from this chapter. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on play this week.

  4. One of my biggest critiques about this chapter centers around the concepts of career. While we do have careers that may not appear to be our ideal career, they do serve an important and valuable role in our lives. We should not discount them all together. Instead, find balance. Acknowledge that our career can only provide one aspect of our ideal and actively seek out opportunities to supplement. It is erroneous to assume that one job or one career will be able to satisfy all of our needs and wants. Creating this unfair expectation is a recipe for disaster.

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