Orienting Our Lives by Joy (#30DaysofGoddess, July Practice)

Today, I gathered five candles,
some sea salt
in a small dark cauldron,
a lighter in a starry brass holder,
a rattle made of gourd,
a singing bowl,
a crow’s feather,
and my determination.
I watched the candles flare
and called in inspiration,
for the faith to keep on going
in a world that too often
feels crumpled with despair.
I planted my feet,
reached out my hands,
and lifted my voice,
believing with everything
I have left
that no matter how many stories
have been told to us
about brokenness,
we’re here anyway
still whole.

This month, I held a small summer solstice retreat with six friends. It was supposed to be larger, but people kept cancelling. It was supposed to be at the river, but risky heat indexes put us inside. It was supposed to be cooler inside, but the AC went out and we were relegated to the basement. And, it was perfect. It was just what I (and we) needed. Something that I remembered after the retreat was over was of the importance of paying attention to how you feel after something is over. Let those moments teach you.

I’ve been thinking and writing recently about reorienting our lives by joy and steering away from obligation. How we feel after something is over can tell us a lot about whether we are steering our lives by joy or obligation.

Yes, we all have obligations and it is important to keep our promises and to remember that carework is literally what stitches the world together, however, for many of us, we lose our joy and steer only by obligation. I wish for all the chance to remember how to orient by joy–at least in some contexts and at least in some choices.


The July theme for #30DaysofGoddess is orienting our lives by joy. The resources for you are all available on the practice home page, including a 26 minute video, printables, and more.

Picking wildflowers from the field
while I still have my jeans
on from berry-picking
face slicked with sweat,
heart alive with joy
as I collect black-eyed susans,
bergamot, asters, and dianthus
to celebrate the summer,
five red roses
and one blue hydrangea
to round out my exuberant bouquet.
I say,
how I feel right now.
I want to orient my life
by this kind of joy.

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