Yesterday – as many of you will know – was my birthday! I turned 49!!! I’m not sure how that happened … the last time I checked I was 30 so as you can imagine it all came as a bit of a shock! A double shock was the dawning realisation that it would have to be spent in lockdown!
No shopping trips for me! No city breaks! No weekends away or visits to the Theatre … oh no … a birthday spent at home, without even the beloved beech as a potential visit in sight!
Still – determined for it not to be shrouded in a coronavirus shaped cloud of doom – I asked Andrew (the ball and chain) to buy me an adult Tricycle! I have never had any balance – so to speak – and there for never managed to master the art of riding a bike – as a result of this I have NEVER EVER had one and rather felt I was missing out!
We found a relatively cheap tricycle on Amazon and BLAM – there she was – on my birthday – Radagast the Red.
My name for her!
So yesterday – for the first time in 49 years – I took to the country lanes of Hartington Cambo (Northumberland) and rode up and down and up and down and up and down!
It was THRILLING (and terrifying) … maybe more terrifying for Andrew who thought I might end up – arse first – in a ditch or splattered across the windscreen of a tractor but not … I was fine (ish) and had an ABSOLUTE ball.
In those moments – whizzing down a hill like a dragonfly – dodging potholes – ringing my bike bell at lambs gambling in the fields I was in a complete and utter stay of JOY! In those moments there was no coronavirus, there was no mountain of emails or ever growing, ever pressing orders to be done, no perilous Zoom meetings to be navigated or digital workshops to be written. No family members or friends to worry about, no potential virus hiding around every isle of Tesco’s or Boots. There was just me and the bike and the wind and the road and the lambs and the feeling of joy!
Escapism is SO important during these current times, whether it be in the story of a book, or the fantasy of a show or film on TV, listening to the radio, playing a computer game or in the pages of a comic. We all need to get away from it all, the endless statistics and death toll, the political shortcomings and even the tales of bravery and camaraderie and when we are in joy – when we are lost in happiness – even for a second, even for a moment we do manage to escape and be free.
And this is SUCH a powerful thing, such a healing thing – this moment of liberation – that despite its fleeting nature it can have miraculous effects on the psyche!
Of course for some of us finding joy is easier – we have a talent for it – my Mother certainly did … give her a bunch of party wigs, some fancy dress or some funny hats and she could play for hours and spread her simple fun and joy into the room so as to capture everyone within her reach and transport them with her … but others aren’t so gifted.
Although I used to be proficient in this talent it is – of late – something I have lacked, becoming obsessed (as I often do) with doom and death which is why yesterday was such a treat!
So … I would urge you … I would encourage and entreat you to search for joy. However simple – however fleeting – wherever it might be. Search for it and grasp it and hold it close. Its power is (in my humble opinion) more instantly transformative than the violet flame and more frequency lifting than the brightest quartz crystal and – by and large – it is often free! So … hunt it out and hold it close now … now more than ever before.
Is there any wonder that one of the commercial sectors that has had a whopping 400% increase in revenue during the locks down has been the sex toy industry! It might not be your idea of a fun evening in – nor mine come to that (give me a Diet Coke, a tube of Pringles and stack of Superman comics any time over sex) BUT for some – pardon the pun – it definatley tickles their fancy!
So … why the Art of Joy part 1? I have no idea but spirit said it was the right title … I guess they know something that at the moment I don’t … watch – this – space for more! And in the meantime … keep smiling!