This Is The Joy

“This is the joy for me. I love bread.”

You may recognize those words as Oprah’s opening lines from a Weight Watchers commercial that’s getting a lot of play these days. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is that Oprah is thrilled she can eat bread and still lose weight. While people are poking fun at the commercial a bit (I’ll admit, James and I chuckle every time it comes on Hulu), Oprah’s joy is inspiring.

I’ve been longing for this kind of joy lately. The kind of joy that makes you say: “I love life!”

But it hasn’t been coming.

Instead, I’ve been feeling an overwhelming sense of pointlessness – in my work, my writing, and just life in general. I’m trying hard to make things happen, but I’m left feeling ineffectual and unsatisfied, and that’s been leading me to despair.

Maybe you can relate.

My thoughts often go like this: Nothing I do helps this situation. This project isn’t going anywhere. If I can’t change the outcome, if I can’t make things happen, then why bother trying? Continue reading

What No One Tells You About Letting Go of Perfectionism

Do you ever feel like there’s something rotten inside you? Like something has “gone bad” in your mind or heart – as though it’s an avocado you let sit out too long or a half-eaten loaf of bread you forgot about? It’s an unsavory discovery.

Recently, this “rottenness” manifested in the form of a generally cranky disposition. I was bumping into things and frustrated and tired and not feeling quite like myself – something was off.

Sweet James was the gentle observer of my frustrations. Over the past few years I’ve learned to not blame others for my frustrations quite so much, but it’s still a temptation. The opportunity to blame-shift and deflect my overall crummy feeling onto someone else has its appeal. But I’ve done the blame thing enough – sorry, Mom and boyfriends of seasons past – to know that any sense of relief I’d experience would be momentary and fleeting. Instead, I usually feel worse than before – because now I’m still frustrated and I’m feeling guilty and embarrassed about my juvenile behavior.

So, rather than get angry with James, I got curious. Continue reading