Sunday, February 20, 2011

Monday Inspiration Celebration: Tools of a Joy Warrior

Inspiring me all weekend long was everyone's response to being a Joy Warrior! So many of you are already practicing, you just hadn't made a formal declaration or realized we can be a movement ... a tidal wave of energy generating more and more joy in our world.

So I've been giving a lot of thought to what it means to be a Joy Warrior and what are the tools that support me in that mission. So many of you noted the very essentials: bubbles; twirly skirts and scarves; glitter, sparkles and any fun adornment; side walk chalk and finger paints and really any form of color - today I pulled out the watercolors and india ink:

But really, when I get right down to it, the only essential tool is my attitude. Attitude and attention. Paying attention to myself and to those around me. The concept of being a Witness is central in yoga and I am recognizing its importance in my creative life. Having worked through an intensely transformational program like Deep, I became acutely aware of my need for the support of my tribe if only to be a witness to all that was manifesting within me via the fearless painting process.

These words spilled out over the weekend:

“Mommy, mommy! Look at what I made!”

“See what I can do …”

“Come watch …

“Look again …”

How often in my day do I hear those words?

And for as many times as I step away from what I am doing

to go to my daughter,

I am also guilty of responding:

“In a minute”

“Of course you can!”

“Let me finish this first …”

And “I’ll be there when I’m done.”

Missing that initial flush of triumph, pride and achievement on my child’s face.

The failure is to misinterpret her requests for my attention

As a need for approval or validation.

What she is really asking me to do

Is to stand as a Witness to her triumphs

As well as her disasters

To be present with her for all of it –

Sadness, pain, joy, excitement

To help her hold a space

For herself

As she is in that moment.

Isn’t that what any of us really wants?

To be seen,


Our lives Witnessed.

To have another soul

Hold our hand and acknowledge

“Yes, this is real.

Yes, this is hard.

This is painful.

This is wonderful.

This is exquisitely beautiful

And beyond any words.

This is …

And you are …

And I am here.

And you are here.

And this moment matters

And you matter

And we matter.

Not to label things as

Good, bad, right, wrong, fair, unfair

Not to lay blame, create shame,


or separate ourselves into a categories of better or worse -

But simply to acknowledge

This is happening

This is now

This is real.

When we stand as a witness for another

We are supporting them in learning

How to be a witness for themselves.

My guru taught:

“Self awareness with compassion is the highest practice.”

We bring with us compassion when we authentically see another person.

When my daughter is hurt

I cradle her in my arms

Kissing each tear as it sanctifies the moment

Reminding her – and myself –

That we are held, we are loved, we are deeply cared for

Each boo boo

Teaches us we can move beyond pain

Each triumph

That we are vaster than the limits we impose upon ourselves

And by sharing those moments,

We can no longer hide from our truth

We learn to embrace ourselves

And discover we are already


I am excited to be here as a witness for your triumphs and tumbles and to share mine with you; and to cheer each of us on as we attempt the most courageous of acts - to each day declare ourselves to be warriors for joy.

The transformation has begun. Already, Cowgirl is embracing a new pirate-like spirit:

she lost her first tooth over the weekend and was over the moon with excitement

And I am waffling a bit here, but I do believe there may be one essential tool needed in our arsenal: the ukulele.

I hope you will share your stories and images and artwork chronicling transformation through joy. Once the intention is set, it is pretty spectacular how Joy chooses to share herself.

(and wow ... the word Waffle just inspired me to make pancakes for supper ... how joyful is that?)


  1. one of the milestones for a toddler is cultivating that "shared attention" - i want you to see what i see, i want you to feel what i feel. and, in a sense, we never outgrow that need for connection.

  2. love pancakes for dinner!

    thank you for being a witness to me Lis, and for your inspiring words, your touching insights, and the Joy Warrior movement!

    i need a twirly skirt.

  3. Wow- this is a really powerful post.

  4. Thank you for your words! Joy Warrior - Love it!!!
    I also love your Karma Police notice!

  5. awesome!! absolutely awesome!

    such incredible wisdom in those words on being witness...i so very much believe that, especially when it comes to our children. i'm making a bigger effort to really be mindful of thank you for the reminder.

    and thank you...for being you.

    much love..xoxoxo

  6. I so agree with you. When I share my writings or myself with others, it is just that I am sharing who I am and what I am doing. Of course, I love to hear that it is good but more than that I just want others to be part of my experience. You are an incredibly gifted writer. Thank you for all that you share with us so unselfishly.

  7. Such beautiful and inspiring words, Lis. I think you're starting a movement here. I'll be your witness. XOXO Gina

  8. Pancake parties were a big part of joy growing up for my daughters. (They didn't realize usually that meant we were running low on funds!) LOL. I love seeing Cowgirl's big tooth poking through so joyfully. What fun!

    I also love the paradox of joy & warrior. Makes me smile.


  9. At the end of my day, when I am all curled up in bed I will often read my favorite blogs...last night I was reading yours and I started to cry - big, chunky tears and I wanted to write right away but I could not post a comment from my phone for some I am today and as i read through again I found myself in tears....the words are so honest, the moment you describe of being a Witness as well as Being Seen was so real and beautiful and raw that it reduced me to my lowest common denominator. As i work my way though a period of serious transformation after DEEP, I find I *hear* your words with greater heart and more love than I ever imagined I had...thank you for you, for Cowgirl and so clearly starting a movement toward joy and honest love.