When you’ve been wounded, touching joy or happiness can feel dangerous, off-limits, and impossible for a myriad of reasons.
If you can relate, here’s an exercise I have to share with you.
Several years ago while battling bouts of hopelessness, anxiety, depression—a whole cocktail of emotional and mental struggles—a therapist suggested I create a “toolbox.”
He tasked me with curating a collection of items I found soothing or evoked happiness. These tangible touchpoints were to serve as a way of grounding myself in goodness when I felt like I was about to be swept away by a rip-tide.
To even give myself permission for such an “indulgent,” “earthly” thing was work at first.
In absorbing the “Jesus is enough” messages, I stripped away anything “earthly” I found joy or happiness in that wasn’t considered to be God Himself. What I ended up doing was rejecting the goodness and happiness and tangible joys He offered me along the way. I rejected Him and His good gifts. I kept myself locked in pain.
When I finally considered all the reasons and ways I could in fact find joy or happiness in something “small” or “earthly,” I began to see how everyday, ordinary things could serve a sacred purpose. I stopped denying God of all the ways He could meet me and began to discover Him everywhere. Nothing was wasted or trivial.
This simple practice, giving myself permission to touch happiness in things I once dismissed as “unholy” or “wrong,” became a transformative one. So much so that I included it in the opening pages of my #lifeworthlivingjournal.
In her book #theartistsway, Julia Cameron uses the phrase “happiness touchstones” to describe a similar practice in which you create a list of things you love.
Today I want to share 10 of my touchstones with you:
1 – My mom’s homemade white bread
2 – The mix “tape” of my dad’s favorite songs
3 – Twinkle lights
4 – The smell of Beach Bum sunscreen
5 – Rainbow anything
7 – Butter pecan ice cream
8 – A soft, well-worn sweatshirt
9 – Sunsets at the beach
10 – “Find a Sunnier Place” painting @emilyjeffords that I finally bought myself a print of
Your turn. Tell me yours in a post (tag me please!) or in the comments. Feel free to save and share the image below to use in your social media stories.