Practicing Joy - Cheryl Lister's Sweet Moments

Updated: May 17, 2020

During this complex and unique pandemic time, how do we find joy in our daily lives that are so drastically altered? I have two young daughters, ages 7 and 11, and it has been a theme for me to find ways to bring in the joy and light as we go through the tough challenge of learning how to homeschool, never have play dates, and more.

What continually impresses and inspires me is to witness the profound creative impulse we humans all inherently hold within, a gift from the creative impulse of the universe we come from. I have come to see my role with the girls as one to help create space, so that their own creative impulses can come forth and manifest. I don’t need to create for them, but it helps to create the openings in time and a few tools at their disposal to become their own joy creators.

For example, my 7 year old Michelle wanted to play Candyland one day. We could not find the familiar board game no matter what closet we dug through. She was feeling upset about this and plunked down on the couch, defeated. I sat down with her and allowed her to wallow for a few minutes. Then, I asked a few open ended questions to engage her, such as, “Huh, that’s the weirdest thing that the game disappeared. And here we are. I wonder what we can do with this time? We don’t have Candyland right now, but we’ve got some playtime carved out. You really wanted to play Candyland, what can we do now that will satisfy you?”

We ended up chatting and brainstorming and the next thing you know, she realized that she could make a Candyland game herself! She occupied herself creatively for hours – creating a board with a colorful explosion of color and winding path with candy cane tress and marmalade skies (well, not exactly that, but you know the feeling!). She went through the house and found little objects that could be used for the tokens that we would move through the winding trail. She cut up little squares of paper and color coded them to match the squares on the trail.

Eventually, we played Candyland on her new board and it was so much fun for her to experience the success of our being able to play. We had a blast moving our little objects around and around the page she had created, and I admired her art and beautiful recreation of the game.

In emptiness comes the impulse to create. Our lives have been the opposite of empty for so long, I believe we’ve been lacking this piece of our human selves, the wondrous impulse of creation. I’ve enjoyed witnessing both of my daughters rise to the occasion of this unfamiliar time, opening up their ability to play, to wonder, to create. It inspires me, too, so you may find me doodling more than usual, or jotting down poem fragments that have begun to rise up from my own unique way of expressing myself. It’s refreshing to rediscover the joy of creation in this open space of quarantine.

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