Saturday, August 15, 2009

Joy and Sunshine

I have a very good friend named Dann Thew who is unabashedly joyful.

It sometimes even gets him in trouble, but he goes on being joyful just the same. I remember back before he became a yoga instructor (which is a perfect fit for him), he was working some odd jobs and happened to be at McDonald's working in the drive-through.

Now I don't know about you, but for me it would be challenging keeping joy in that.
Part of why I found it hard to do readings in restaurants after a good many years of it, was the way people treat servers. But Dann is quite naturally "in the now" and curious and happy to see people. He doesn't get caught in what he has to be for others, he just IS. He would see people as people, make eye contact and give them recognition.

Some people aren't comfortable with what they see as "the help" being re cognizant, they want Mcinteraction with their Mcfries. There was one guy who came through the drive through regularly, always ordered the same thing, always impatient, always in a rush and was always gruff. One day when he pulled in, Dann said through the intercom "Hi I have your usual order ready"...the guy didn't know what to do...when he pulled up to the window Dann gave him his order with a big smile...the man sputtered and grimaced. After Dann gave him his change, the guy yelled " I'M GONNA GET YOU FIRED!!!".

Dann smiled at him with great surprise and gratitude and said "OH..........THANK YOU!"

And just to show Dann has a mischievous side, he added "I hope you enjoy your lunch as much as I did myself, preparing it by hand". I should mention too that the guy in the truck had a girlfriend with him that found the whole thing joyful too.

Dann has taught me that I need to have reference points for joy. I have a bulletin board by my computer at home that has pictures on it of what a happy man is supposed to look like. I think it's like a package of seeds that has to show what the blossoming plant is. I try to look at these grinning men as my reference points and it's often hard when I do that, not to grin back. here's one of them (I'll post more eventually):

Yup, Steve Martin. He knows how to laugh as much at himself as at what's around him. I have to include a YouTube clip of him with Earl Scruggs playing "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on Letterman. There is tremendous joy in these guys jamming.

There was a time in my life when I had lost or misplaced this. Oddly it was when I was trying very very hard to "work on" me. Don't get me wrong, I needed to do a lot of that work, still do. But I had misplaced my joy and lost my reference points. Every now and then though life gives me a bump, the saying is "a burr under the saddle that wakes up the horse".

It's when I find it again that I remember it is a natural state. Like sunshine it really is always there, clouds obscure it and like the earth turning, I give it my backside quite often but it's there.

I want to throw in one last little piece of joy that I like to look at from time to time, with thanks to Susan H. (who turned me on to Polyphonic Spree, and has lots of good stuff to share):


  1. Thanks for the warm fuzzy hug of a mention! It is great to connect with you in the blogsphere. Don't know if you've hooked into my occasional online ramblings at Where I Am, Knitting is Also ( but if you are on Twitter - hook up to me at suhurrell.

    Perhaps there might be time for tea in late Sept - when we get back from our annual pilgrimage to La Belle Province? I think we're long overdue!

  2. This sounds simple- and apparently it is. But I find it to be very tough spritual practice! It can be so difficult not to engage miserable people- even when I know that doing so can make me my own worst enemy. A part of this practice is, as you call it, being mindful. Others describe it as being aware of how you can be seen to be acting.

  3. That Foggy Mountain Breakdown clip is fabulous. I need to figure out how to make it my "wake up" tune!