Creating the Life You Love: How lists of, “What brings me joy,” became my life. by Larkin Oates

What if you woke up one day to realize you are the person you have always wanted to be, and are living the life you envisioned?

Driving home from work recently, as I enjoyed the sunlight and music on the radio, I had an a-ha moment.

I am living the life, and have become the woman I have always wanted to be. Astonishing. For all of life’s glitches or curves in the road, I live in a home I love, have a great community, and I am doing what energizes me.

My practice of keeping lists of ‘things that make me happy,’ may have contributed. I have always kept these lists in my journals as quick references for times when I felt down.

In some of my art workshops, I ask attendees to quickly flip through magazines and tear out happy images. Next, these participants glue the pictures to a piece of paper or poster board. Later, at home, they might hang the collage where it can be seen and visually uplift the environment.

photo of the Isle of Palms, SC by Larkin Oates

Sometimes, I ask folks to list the things that bring them joy. I then ask them how those elements might be brought into their home or life (at low cost). For instance, since I love the beach, I might paint a wall a turquoise of the ocean, or hang a beach picture on the wall. I might go to sleep with a sound of ocean waves from a sound machine. Or, since I love flowers but have not had a green thumb, I photograph flowers, and I hang pictures of flowers.

 Spring crocuses, photo by Larkin Oates

I credit the book Cancer As A Turning Point, by LeShan, for its role. One of the book’s early exercises essentially asks the reader to list what brings them joy, what stands in the way, and how can they make it happen.

Over the years I keep listing these joyful, calming, and uplifting things. I make collages, of things that make me happy. I now notice my den walls of light sea foam teal, and my bedroom walls of sunny daffodil yellow. I also have the sweetest old lady yellow Labrador that gives me a deep sense of belonging and love.

One could ask the chicken or the egg question, do I have joyful visions, and/or do I help create that for myself. In either case, my home is colorful and I feel grateful for the many gifts in my life.

4 thoughts on “Creating the Life You Love: How lists of, “What brings me joy,” became my life. by Larkin Oates

  1. Kelly Reply

    So lovely and insightful!

    1. loates66 Reply

      Thank you, Kelly!

  2. Susan Booth Reply

    Ah, Larkin. This post truly made me smile. You set a good example, and always you share parts of your life that encourage and/or inspire others. Thank you!

    1. loates66 Reply

      Thank you Susan. What a kind thing to say.

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