Think of yourself as the planet earth

The real Pema Chodron.

Over the Christmas holiday, I read the book How We Live Is How We Die by Pema Chodron. I read it in tandem with another book entitled Wicca Nature Magic: A Beginnier’s Guide to Working with Nature Spellcraft. And yesterday, I visited with my Baha’i friends at the local Baha’i Center. We had a potluck goodbye party for our friends before they traveled back to their home in Nevada.

There were non-Baha’i friends there, too; each spiritual in their own way. It was fun to catch up, visit and, as my friend put it, “cogitate.”

This morning, when I saw today’s prompt, “What brings you joy?” I knew I would need to cogitate.

Without cogitating, my immediate answer at 6:00 in the morning was, “My husband and our children.” But something didn’t feel right about answering a question about “joy” with “my family.” My family is so much more than “joy.”

Truth be told, I don’t understand “joy.” I don’t understand “happiness” either. I understand moments of joy and moments of happiness, but I don’t understand society’s need for perpetual joy and everlasting happiness.

So, after cogitating, here’s my answer:

Social media brings me joy. Buying something nice, be it expensive or on clearance, brings me joy. A venti non-fat cappuccino with extra foam brings me joy. Finding the cheapest gas in town brings me joy. Shopping at ALDI brings me joy.

I want less joy!

That’s me dressed as Pema Chodron for a literary-themed costume party in 2016.

Lately, after reading the aforementioned books, I’ve been tasked with thinking of my body as a miniature version of Earth. Earth is made of water, fire, air and stone. Following the logic of the books I’ve just read, my tears, saliva, urine and blood are my planet’s water. My body heat is the fire. My breath is the air. My bones and teeth are the stones.

Visualizing myself as tiny planet — not needing anything materialistic, electronic or caffeinated — I can sort of see it. (I can live without Starbucks but I cannot live without coffee.) This way of thinking has taken me on a little spiritual journey of living with less joy. I rather like it. To be clear: It doesn’t bring me “joy.”

Hey, thanks for reading. If the photo of me impersonating Pema Chodron doesn’t work for you, here’s a 29-second video of my back yard impersonating my mind. Cheers!

Thanks for reading!

Yours in cogitation,


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