“Remedial Joy” Stories

This suggestion is from Martha Beck, Finding your own North Star, pp214-215

She says “If you can’t cast your mind back to experiences that make you thrill with joy, you’re due for some remedial work.”  So I went back and gathered a list of stories.  I remember times when just thinking about the Chalice Well, or about the Ocean of Compassion, would recall the actual emotions.  Now they don’t, though I did feel better after I wrote the list.  So I started writing out the stories.

Caryn McHose, my somatic experiencing therapist, responded when I was telling her the plot of the Brother Cadfael book I was reading (Monk’s Hood): “Those books are your Bible, and that story is a story of redemption.”  She said I had lots of stories, and lots of stories of redemption.  So I started putting those on the list, and writing out what happened.  Some of these stories have been posted on this blog: e.g. Turkeys.

The third motive for collecting these stories came from the “Ark of Hope”.  The Ark of Hope was created as a place of refuge for the Earth Charter and Temenos Books.  The Ark of Hope was displayed at the Vermont College of Fine Arts during the visit of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers to Montpelier.  I went into the room where it was set up and fell in love.  The big box was beautifully painted, and had two carrying poles.  The books that had been made by children, artists and peace activists were displayed around the room.  Each book was 8”x 8”x 2”, and expressed hopes, prayers and affirmations for Planet Earth.  The books were fascinating.  Some had writing, some were collages, some had pottery or weaving, all unique, all beautiful.  I started imagining making little books of stories that were important to me, and collaging a biggish box to keep them in.  This idea disappeared and reappeared over the years.  I had a cardboard box with a top that had once carried tomatoes.  It was 9”x 11”x 15”. Last week it contained copies of Ode Magazine.  I had hoped to be able to give them away to someone, maybe a school teacher, who would use them for projects for children.  This idea fell victim to rejection by the first place I offered it, and my inability to persevere, and probably a depression triggered by something I didn’t notice.  I thought of the project again when I started making lists of stories.  I remembered that I had torn up a lot of paintings I had done in a weekend workshop, intending to use them for collage.  I realized I could use them to collage the box!  So I went to the dump and put all the magazines into the recycle bin.  Next step is to start collaging the box.

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