Saturday, June 15, 2013

Find the JOY!

As we take on Fathers' Day weekend,  I muse about my wonderful Dad.

We lost him in 2009 and I miss him every day.  He had a rare form of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma called Mantle Cell.  Yet, he remained so full of joy for each moment.  He lived his life, his craft and his passions like that.

I remember that joy.  He embodied it through his teaching, his directing, his interactions with others, his painting,  his children and his grandchildren.

He was always learning, always reading, always thinking, always discovering.  He never said "that's it", or "it is a chore", or "I'm bored".  In fact, if he heard you say "I'm bored" his answer was this:
boredom comes from within.

So often,  we as artists,  as performers,  in the murky business of show often lose sight of the JOY.  We are constantly working to work, to be seen, to be hired,  and there is exhaustion with that.  It can often take over to the point that we forget WHY we do what we do in the first place.

There is nothing wrong with goals.  I believe in them.  They keep us focused.  However, if we set ourselves up to fall,  where is the joy in that?

If our expectations have nothing to do with the reality that we find ourselves in,  then perhaps our view is skewed. 

Looking too far ahead often defeats the joy that is standing right in front of you.

Why do you do what you do?  Have you lost sight of it? 

What gives you joy anyway?

Perhaps we need to get back to those basics from time to time.  It doesn't have to be sophisticated or polished or perfect.  It just has to be real.

Infusing JOY back into our lives makes everything possible.  It often doesn't have ANYTHING to do with our craft per se, although it can.  It will, however, direct and influence it.

The old saying of "all work and no play"  sometimes needs to be taken to heart.

Constant worry,  constant thoughts of "it's not enough" "I'm not enough" or even "why aren't they hiring me?"  suck the joy right out of what we say gives us that joy in the first place.

So today,  dare to find out what brings you back to joy.  What about your craft is real to you and makes you feel complete?  What lifts you up?  What makes you feel like you can breathe?  What eliminates worry or concern even for a few minutes?  What makes you laugh?  What makes you feel passionate?  What gives you possibility, not excuse?

We need to feed our joy to keep it blooming.  Just as we need to develop our craft,  our technique,  and our business skills.  If the joy doesn't buoy all we do,  it is simply work.  Dull, disappointing and exhausting.

As artists and performers,  we have to respect ourselves more than that.  We cannot allow things we cannot change to suck the joy out of our lives.  We have to commit to finding that joy and claiming it vehemently each day.

I for one,  plan to do just that!  A renewed commitment to JOY.  Because my Dad taught me how!
My wonderful Dad in his workspace where he painted!