Not only happy – but something called Joy
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog on how Orange makes me happy (see previous blog). Well, there’s been an extension to this, which happened this morning and gave me such as surprise, I couldn’t believe it!
The other day in Sydney, after a particularly stressful incident with a family member – I looked at Mr TC and said something like: “you know, we haven’t had much joy in our lives in recent times (meaning years), and I’m getting pretty sick of it”. He shrugged his shoulders and gave me a look, that I’ve interpreted over the years to mean something like – “yes, tell me something I don’t know!”.
One of the reasons we bought The Sampson Cottage in Orange and not elsewhere, wasn’t because it was cheaper than Sydney, although the fact is currently true. I didn’t realise it at the time, but amongst other things, it was because I was in search of that joy, which for many years in Sydney, has seemed to elude me. I know a lot of that had to do with enjoying my work, but not enjoying the people I worked for (you know who you are). Their selfishness, their continued advantage-taking and the impact of personal anxiety and lack of self-esteem etc., etc. on those around them… but I won’t go on about that again.
But aside from all of that, the Sydney climate just took it out of me – literally. Today in Orange, it will average a fresh 21 degrees. It is bright, sunny and I’m sitting on the patio at the back of the house with the sun on my face and (looking at Mr TC’s newly erected shed), I feel myself breathe – really breathe. It’s only 23 in Sydney – so pretty much the same right? Wrong. It’s muggy, it’s cloudy and I bet the humidity and the clamminess is way in excess of what you find here – even more than what we experienced during one of those 38-40 degree days we had a week or so ago in Orange.
So this morning, whilst Mr TC was at Bunnings bright and early getting new shelving for the new shed, I walked up to Cook Park. One of my favourite places in Orange and so accessible from the The Sampson. It was 8.00am. The park looked stunning – it rarely looks otherwise to be honest, irrespective of the time of year. There were very few people out at that time.
With all the changes we’ve had in our life and the long days, nights and weekends involved with starting a my own Coaching and Leadership Development Practice, at the same time as renovating a house 250km’s away from where you live, (we didn’t plan it like that by the way) – you have no routine and no time to yourself. Driving thousands of KM’s in 8 months, regular Macca’s at Lithgow to keep you going, and little/ no exercise was adding more than a few kilo’s to an already softening 54 year old frame. Not good. So we figured by March, 95% of what really has to be done, will have been done and we can start to regroup on the whole fitness and food thing.
But what to start with? Walking? Yes of course – some of the best exercise you can do isn’t it - providing at least 20-30 mins on your hands. So I did that to the park and enjoyed the waking of Sampson Street on the way. I got to the park and thought I might try jogging around it- who am I kidding? A slow shuffle would have been more accurate. And, it didn’t feel good – it didn’t hurt necessarily, but for all the world, it felt like it could hurt at any minute – something could easily go ‘ping’ and I’d be behind the 8 ball, before I’d even started. So what else could I do?
Now, anyone who knows me, would attest to the fact that contrary to my earlier years of travel and pure hedonism, I’m not someone who’s given to a great deal of spontaneity. But to my total surprise, I did something I haven’t done in donkey’s years -:I danced! Right there in the middle of Cook Park, I danced – free style, with I-don’t-care-what-you-think-about-me, 54 year old abandon. And it felt so good. I had to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” on my iPhone playing, then played Sam Sparrow’s – a “Happiness” and I danced for 20 mins, attracting some stares and some smiles as I went and I didn’t care. It felt fantastic. And, it was for the most part, low impact. My knees weren’t stressed and it felt natural. No routine, no structure, no impression-management.
I stopped to get my breath and another surprise hit me – I started to cry. Not just delicate tears rolling down my face, like in the movies. I was sobbing! Not for long, only for perhaps a minute or so. At first I wasn’t sure why. Then as I walked back I realized – it was the emotion of experiencing, pure joy and self-expression. That emotion has been pent up or dormant and worse, replaced with stress and anger. The relief of igniting joy again, literally came out of me in the form of tears and sobs. I’m sure there was more than a little lamenting for the lost years, of pandering to the needs of others and not my own true needs – replacing the things that feed my soul with that desperate need to ‘get on’ in all its forms.
1993 when I left New Zealand to come to Sydney to - so called- advance my career – I said goodbye to my dancing. Orange, Cook Park, beautiful Sunday morning – Thank you. Perhaps I’m finally getting my mojo back and perhaps Orange might do this for you too – you never know.
And remember, if you’re visiting Orange – remember to stay at The Sampson – Orange.