Encouraging women to evolve and create new opportunities at any age.

To Joy!


Last week, I conducted a workshop on “Enhancing Joy.”  I asked participants if they knew anyone they would describe as “joyful.”  I’m sad to say I wasn’t surprised at the response!  They were all looking at each other  - only to see shoulders shrugging – as if to say, ”Nope, not me either.”

So I asked them, “Isn’t that strange?  All of us here today have more than adequate food, clothing, and shelter.  We are all reasonably safe, and healthy both mentally and physically.  Yet none of us can name someone we would describe as joyful!”

 With this question in mind, the group agreed to spend some time considering “joy” and how we might have more joy in life.  I told them that this is actually a new interest in Psychology, where the historical focus has been disease and dysfunction.  Only recently have important theorists focused attention on happiness and positive living (see “Positive Psychology”).   
Someone said that when she thought of “joy,” she pictured children.   Together, we imaged a couple of children happily playing in a mud puddle – their attention riveted to some aspect of the present moment – maybe giggling.   In our quest to find the components of “joy” we analyzed this scene.  

The children are not focused on the past or worried about the future.  They are totally consumed in their shared activity.  They seem delighted - aware of the sights, sounds and probably the sensations of how that mud feels between fingers or even toes.  

The insights gained from the children at the mud puddle gave us momentum and the subsequent discussion was lively and productive.  I think we came up with some important concepts.  

We can enhance our chances of experiencing joy by: 
  • Fostering and cultivating “present moment awareness.”
  • Accepting present circumstances, rather than worrying about an unknown future or clinging to the past
  • Having an attitude of gratitude – perhaps writing in a gratitude journal each day
  • Spending time with others who are positive and can be engaged with us
  • Trying out new activities to add spice to our routines.  For example,  learning another language, taking art or music lessons, traveling, etc. 
I provided the participants with the “Remaining Relevant” worksheet (see September 2013 newsletter) and with copies of past newsletters that contain suggestions to enrich and enliven.  In particular, I recommended:  October 2013, January 2015 and February 2015.

We ended the workshop with the 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann, Desiderata.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927
Spring Events
Thursday Workshops at
St. Mary's Episcopal Church
Stuart, FL
May 7th           10:00-12:00                 
How to Deal with Conflict in Difficult Relationships

 May 7th           2:00-4:00  

Building Villages: Making Connections That Sustain and Enrich 

June 4th           10:00-12:00 –or- 2:00-4:00      
Changing Habits
Techniques to alter life patterns that are not working for you
July 2nd              10:00-12:00 –or- 2:00-4:00      
Knowing Yourself
A new way to be your own best friend

Link to Workshop info & brochure
Link to Registration form

Visit the website for details about future events:  
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Copyright © 2015 Kendra Brown, Ph.D, All rights reserved.

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