What Brings You Joy?

What energizes you or causes you joy?  Is it your work?  Your family?  A hobby?

I’ve found that if I’m creating or learning something new, I’m enthused for days.  It can be almost anything–a cooking class, a new workout regime, a painting class, a great parenting tip.

Right now, I’ve resolved to learn the guitar.  I’m teaching myself, trying to be faithful to half an hour a day (since the calluses are slow in coming).  I just started.  My brother Matt visited a week ago, and since he’s farther along than I am (in fact, he had lessons as a kid), he sang a few songs for me.  We browsed on YouTube to share our favorite playing and picking styles.  For example, if I could play like Rodrigo y Gabriela, I’d be in heaven.  I know, I know, I dream big.

Matt gave me an assignment (always good when you have a goal!).  I’m going to learn The Avett Brothers’ “Bella Donna.”  We decided that we would record our tracks separately and mix them in GarageBand (an Apple program for doing just that).  Maybe I’ll be brave enough and post it when the time comes.

Thing is: I don’t know my first chord yet, so it’ll take me a while.

I’m happy, though.  Just the day-by-day learning fills me up.

What about you?  What makes you feel alive?

I’ll leave you with “Bella Donna,” so you can see what my assignment is.

[Post image: The Avett Brothers, photo by Liz Devine at the Crystal Ballroom]


  1. shawn
    Feb 22, 2011

    So many things make me feel alive … I am a lot like you in that I get stuck on things for a few day and then move on. I’d say, all in all, that creating art with my kids is pretty monumental for me. But, also, being out in nature … oh, how I can’t wait to do that again when spring finally shows up.

  2. Elissa
    Feb 22, 2011

    Me, too! I love it when their little faces light up!

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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