Archive | The Joy Diet

Connected: The Joy Diet – Week Ten


When we feel love and kindness toward others,
it not only makes others feel loved and cared for,
but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.
(Dalai Lama)

Together, we have journeyed through Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet and over the weeks we have learned a lot—about ourselves and each other.

The tiny discoveries and slight shifts in behavior from reading this book are not significant or profound, but I hope they endure the tests of time.

Finishing this chapter on Connection, I took away these two points:

You will win emotional security neither by finding some infallible person to love, nor by controlling people who are fallible, but by constantly using your ability to connect.

Becoming still will link you with those who are meant to love you.

As we finish the book and our journey together, my deepest hope is not that Beck’s words stay with us, but that we are able to carry our friendships and connections with us on journeys to come.

image credit: me


Joy Diet Rebellion – Week Nine


The greatest expression of rebellion is joy.
(Joss Whedon)

This week’s Joy Diet chapter is all about Laughter. Instead of reading ahead of time and applying Martha Beck’s concepts to my daily routine, I carried the book around in my purse—unopened all week.

I find this to be an ironic act of rebellion in light of my recent admission. It seems as though avoiding a chapter about laughter is as logical as turning down a hot fudge sundae. It is a divine, delicious treat that always feels good!

I’ve decided to cut myself a little slack, understanding that I would never turn down a hot fudge sundae unless I had a very good reason. Lately I have been a busy bee, feeding my creative spirit with plenty of joy.

That’s really the point of all this—to absorb, to develop, to grow. Week after week, I am practicing a positively personal rebellion and subtly adapting Beck’s practices to fit my life.

It’s working. I am making this journey mine.

Thanks again to those of you who have helped me stand up and fight against my preconceived notions of how I am supposed to do this.

I am learning to live with joy. Although I ignored laughter this week, I have promised myself I will giggle extra hard this weekend—and catch up on my reading!


Let’s Play: The Joy Diet – Week Eight


The supreme accomplishment is to
blur the line between work and play.
(Arnold J. Toynbee)

I can’t confidently say that I mastered the art of play this week. As we have worked through Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet, I have experienced varying levels of comfort with each menu item.

This week I read ahead of the class and was prepared to play with the zeal of a child, but somehow managed to ignore the menu item throughout the week.

In my last post, I revealed my goals for November and mentioned I have struggled to make it to yoga class. Lauren admitted she has been facing the same challenge, even though we both call ourselves yoginis.

The big question that comes to mind is, “why do I avoid the things I know are good for me?” If I am brutally honest with myself…

I prefer the feeling I get from eating a healthy home-cooked meal than I do from driving through McDonald’s.

I have an after-yoga-glow that is exquisite when compared to the way I feel after spending a few sluggish hours on my couch.

I take comfort in solving my internal questions through journal writing rather than ignoring things and complaining to those around me.

So then I wonder, why am I not doing the things that make me feel best?

Maybe there isn’t a good reason, or maybe the reason isn’t the issue at hand. Whatever the cause, if I decide to play the game like Beck describes, I will lean towards living my best lifetreating myself to a healthy blend of home-cooked meals, yoga and journaling.

I agree with her that at the end of our lives, or in the face of a tragedy, we are pulled to what is most important to us. We stop avoiding the things that make us whole and get back to the basics. We uncover the dusty novel, the wrinkled yoga mat or the rusty sewing machine. We take comfort in whatever brings us the most joy.

I struggled to define what Beck calls our “real career” because I’m unsure of my answers. I don’t know what legacy I want to leave, and I don’t know what experiences I need to have a completely satisfying life.

Her questions make me feel the same way I imagine it would feel to drive through the neighborhood I lived in until I was 9comfortable, but disarmed. I don’t exactly know where my house is, but I will know it when I see it.

So for now I am going to continue to drive through the neighborhood, explore my creative side, connect with all you amazing women and stay dedicated to the things that make me happy. I will continue to search for my housebecause I am sure that I will know my real career, my true calling, when I see it.

photo credit: me
quote credit: @dailydivadish


Sweet Treats: The Joy Diet – Week Seven

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word,
a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
(Leo Buscaglia)

This week’s chapter in Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet is all about positive reinforcement. I am so happy that after all our hard work on nothing, truth, desire, creativity and risk, it is finally time for a treat!

As I mentioned in my post last week, this journey has taught me to breathe through my perfectionism. I have stopped taking Beck’s instructions literally and begun to implement her practices in a way that works for my life. This revelation has turned the book into a kind voice of guidance instead of a scary drill sergeant standing over me.

In this chapter, I enjoyed cataloging my instant smile triggers…

  • Snuggling up in a warm blanket
  • Discovering a new quote
  • Sending and receiving snail mail
  • Being silly with my mister
  • Eating anything chocolate
  • Watching Grey’s Anatomy
  • Catching up with an old friend
  • Using the perfect font
  • Connecting with bloggy & twitter friends

…and creating a list of my sensory delights!

  • I love the taste of cupcakes, chai tea, Rachel’s yogurt, mashed potatoes, and salsa
  • I love the sight of my family, sandy beaches, sunrises, water and emails from friends
  • I love the feel of bubble baths, sunshine, grassy lawns, crisp sheets and my yoga mat
  • I love the smell of chlorine, candles, Christmas, men’s cologne and flowers
  • I love the sound of a new playlist, ocean waves, popcorn, jingle bells and laughter

Practicing treats has been a total delight. I am excited to read about your experiences and get silly next week as we explore play!


Creativity and Risk: The Joy Diet – Week Six


Take that first step.
Bravely overcoming one small fear
gives you the courage to take on the next.
(Daisaku Ikeda)

It is hard to believe that we’re well into the middle of Martha Beck’s book, The Joy Diet. It seems to me that every week I fall behind—and then I remember this is not a race.

I am beginning to accept that I won’t be implementing this diet “by the book” but rather slowly folding it into my preexisting routines. Thinking about The Joy Diet as a practice instead of a requirement has softened me in a way that is hard to describe.

Thank you for showing me that we are all on this journey together. Reading so many blogs on the same topic has helped me realize there is no right or wrong way to practice Joy.

I am living between the sentences in Beck’s narrative and discovering simple moments that were always there, even though I never noticed them before.

Yesterday was rough, but by the end of the day, I was content and happy. With your help, I found my smile. I took myself to Starbucks after work, where I enjoyed the comfort of a purple armchair and the sweet warmth of a pink Raspberry Chai Soy Latte.

The past two weeks of Creativity and Risk have blended together, and all I can say is that I am learning…

to try something different when the patterns of my actions hold me back.
to embrace mental yoga poses that make me feel uncomfortable.
to examine why some goals scare me.
to be ok with being afraid.
to know I am ok.

I am excited to enjoy treats while I continue my practice of nothing, truth, desire, creativity and risk. Thank you again for sharing your journeys, you are all the best teachers in the world.

photo credit: me


Thoughts on Desire: The Joy Diet – Week Four

Forest Path

To accomplish great things,
we must not only act, but also dream;
not only plan, but also believe.
(Anatole France)

It’s Week Four of The Next Chapter: The Joy Diet book club and this week we are discovering Desire.

If you have read my previous Joy Diet posts, you know where I am—Nothing was a flop and I failed at Truth. I was unsure about this week’s topic because the word desire makes me think of passionate love and illicit affairs—not personal growth.

Thankfully, last night I gave myself the opportunity to relax. I took a book bath, practiced yoga and found Nothing. Here is an excerpt from my journal entry about Truth:

1. What hurts?
My ego

2. What is the painful story I’m telling?
I want to do so much, but I don’t have the dedication to complete anything.

3. Can I be sure my painful story is true?
Not really

4. Is my painful story working?
Definitely not

5. Can I think of another story that might work better?
I don’t have to do so much, but I want the dedication to complete anything.

These thoughts are heavy, but I am sharing them because they play into this week’s chapter. Maybe I bite off more than I can chew and jump into many different things to avoid exploring what I really want.

Martha Beck’s recommendation to sit with our desires struck a chord. I often get caught up in my next great idea—the next achievement that will make me whole. The practice of letting my desires simmer while asking the question, “and then what?” appeals to me.

I truly appreciate those of you who have taken the time to comment on my thoughts. Your kind words and support have helped me realize this journey is not one I will complete in a series of neatly composed blog posts—instead, it will develop and grow as I take tiny steps forward.

Creativity is our next adventure and I could not be more excited! I have yet to read the chapter, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite creative inspirations anyway:

photo credit: jurek d


I Might Not Be Cut Out for the Truth

Capitola Stairs

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Two weeks ago, I finished reading Chapter 2 in Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet. The mission seemed simple enough—continue to develop a relationship with nothing while incorporating one moment of truth each day.

Beck’s words are inspiring and relentlessly truthful. When I completed the chapter, I felt as though I was ready to embrace the truth—ready to uncover secrets and grow from my discoveries.

Shortly after these feelings of I-can-conquer-the-world-ness, reality smacked me in the face in the form of to-do lists, appointments and special projects. Then the excuses came and I let them defeat me.

Maybe the excuses are right, maybe I don’t have time for the truth.

I find it a bit depressing and otherwise hilarious that I am struggling so much with this Joy Diet journey. My nothing was far from perfect, I avoided the truth and I have put desire on the backburner. Beck is right when she says that, “living behind a pane of glass, numbing and empty though it is, also feels safe.”

As I think about how I want the rest of this journey to unfold, I am faced with a challenge—do I want to continue hiding behind a pane of glass or do I want to trust there is another step below the one I am standing on?

photo credit: me


Thoughts on Nothing: The Joy Diet – Week Two


The willingness to listen and act on your inspiration
is imperative if you’re going to live the life you desire.
(Wayne Dyer)

Before I finished reading this chapter, I assumed I knew the meaning of nothing.

On the first few pages I found Martha Beck’s words, “…doing just about anything is preferable to doing nothing,” and convinced myself that I was destined for defeat – doomed to a week of 15-minute sections of required silence.

This is the problem with assumptions.

Assuming I knew something about nothing, I forced myself into stillness for a 15-minute meditation in lotus pose. I thought a personal-development book would only prescribe this version of nothing.

After completing the chapter, I realized I have been craving the nothing Beck describes. My crazy day-to-day schedule often leaves me frazzled and yearning for a lot of nothing.

My 12 years as a competitive swimmer taught me wonderful lessons on time management, perseverance, tenacity and humility. It never occurred to me that the hours I spent in the pool provided me with the quiet and stillness of nothing.

A two-hour swim practice provides a lot of time to stare at the black line at the bottom of the pool. Mostly, you are left alone in your head. When Beck recommends we calm our bodies with mindless physical activity – something clicked. I once mastered my nothing. I had a lot of it.

I am no longer fortunate to have hours of nothing built into my daily routine. However, I do have an amazing community of friends in this blog and twitter universe. I have time, resources and books like The Joy Diet. I can set aside 15 minutes a day and make a little space for nothing.

I must confess that I did not complete the task for the entire week, but this realization is a step in the right direction – forward movement towards the life I desire and the woman I wish to be.

As I move into the next chapter of our journey, I will bring my nothing along and look forward to exploring truth with you next Friday.


The Joy Diet – Week One

Little Girl JoyThe aim of life is to live,
and to live means to be aware,
joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely, aware.
(Henry Miller)

Today marks the beginning of The Next Chapter: The Joy Diet. I am excited to join this online book club of courageous, artistic and thoughtful bloggers. It may be obvious since this blog is still a baby, but this is my first undertaking of the sort.

Over the summer, I admired my friends in the Wreck This Journal group from afar – partly because I was blogless, but mostly because the idea of destroying my neat and tidy journal did not appeal to me.

I am looking forward to seeking joy while exploring Martha Beck’s concepts. I hope to share my thoughts and learn from the amazing community Jamie Ridler has fostered. As we embark on this journey, I am really looking forward to sharing a new vision card for each week and diving deeper into my relationship with joy.

I am a very upbeat, positive and fun person overall. Of course I have moments of dramatic despair, but I recover quickly. My goal is to seek a more stable and blissful internal temperature – a constant state of the childlike joy that lives within all of us.

I cannot wait to jump into the first menu item: Nothing. More updates next Friday! It’s never too late to join in on the fun, click here to get started.

photo credit: just.Luc


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