You Are Allowed To Cultivate Joy

"Next! Who's next?" hollers my boyfriend after making a meal of New Mexican hatch chile relleno with baked cauliflower, rice, homemade guacamole and salsa. Everyone lines up with delight as Trev plates them up and the usually boisterous bunch that fills our home is completely quiet for many moments, setting their wine and conversation aside. I watch our friends as they consider the flavor profile, the heat, and the love that went into creating our meal. There are mmmm's and ahhhhh's and tiny beads of sweat forming on everyone's smiling faces. Even the ones that can't take the heat do the best they can because dinner is THAT GOOD. Earlier in the day, Trev had an idea. All summer we have been eating hatch chili in everything: soups, eggs, pizza, pasta and that morning he wanted to make something different for dinner, something that would really hit it out of the park. Joyfully, he went to the market to gather his ingredients. Then he came home to chop and mince and fry and bake while listening to music and pausing to drink wine. His happiness level was off the charts because he was in his element, engaging in his art. We didn't plan on having a dinner party that Saturday night but when Trev cooks people gather. Cooking is his passion and the feeling is palpable, roaming out into our streets to scoop up our neighbors and have them following their noses, wandering up our stairs, asking, "Hey, watchya got cooking in there?" Trev has other work to do, bills to pay, chores to attend to, but he makes time for his art regularly and he goes all out.

And, oh the joy it brings!

Your joy is important. Your passion is important. Even if it never makes you money. Even if you never get recognized for it. Even if it seemingly goes nowhere. Practicing the activities we love just for the sheer joy of it is reward enough. It adds texture, grace and meaning to our lives.

For you it may be playing music or arranging flowers or painting. It could be writing or hiking or gardening. Personally, I am taking a feng shui course this month because I am passionate about the energy of our personal spaces and how this affects our lives. This seemingly has nothing to do with the work I do in the world and there are a million other things I could be learning this month, but I am happy while I am learning and implementing this new knowledge and so I carve out time for it.

Your happiness while engaging in particular endeavors is proof enough that you must continue to do those things that make you happy to be alive. As we move into the Fall, a very industrious season, I urge you to not forget to play and to create alongside the work you do. Play may even make your work better!

You are allowed to cultivate joy, one lovely passion at a time. Our lives, I believe, depend on it and the world is a better place with inspired and passionate people roaming its streets.