8 Practices to Bring You Joy & Meaning – Part 1

I must confess, I don’t always feel inspired. There! I said it.

There have been many days these past few years when I have asked myself; “Am I even capable of coming up with creative and fresh ideas ever again!?” I lacked motivation, experiencing a less than desirable amount of joy in my work and was needing to be reminded of the meaning of my life.

Then, after a much-needed holiday break, my energy started to shift.

What changed? What the heck provided that ah-ha moment that made the lights turn back on?

To be honest, I’m writing this post to document the transition for myself. Shoot! I want more of this. I want to return to this state more quickly. I want to stay here!

In this three-part series, I’ll share what I was reflecting on, the books I was reading and the podcasts I was listening to. Maybe these suggestions or practices won’t be the right cocktail to jumpstart you moving forward with joy and meaning, but my hope is that you will be inspired to venture into your own exploration of discovery.

For those of you who have not lost your creative mojo, I hope that you too can take away some good practices that will help the flow of your creativity to be a smooth journey to continue enjoying.

Credit: @leoandlynnjewelry

1. Reflection

At the end of each December, I take time to reflect on my past year by doing the YearCompass Workbook. The workbook is broken down into thinking about the past year and the year ahead. The questions throughout the workbook require the user to think about their life in a variety of categories such as; family, career, studies, friends, community, relaxation, hobbies, creativity, physical health and so on.

The structure helped me to reflect on what was working in my life and what wasn’t. I also identified what was providing me with joy and meaning, versus the areas that were a darn drag and MUST be voted off the island.

Action Steps:

  • Download the free booklet offered by YearCompass.
  • Set a date to share your work with a friend. Agree to check in once a quarter to go over your progress for the intentions you set for the year.

Credit: @littlebluebusjewelry

2. Examine Your Habits

After going through my 2021-2022 YearCompass workbook, I could see where I had started to let a couple things slide in my life. I was working a lot more hours, but not necessarily because I needed to. To be honest, I was watching way too much BBC/Amazon/Netflix. I knew I had to change some habits in order to get myself out of my binge-watching TV habits (BUT I’m working!!!).

I have been very curious about habits for years, so it was easy for me to do a couple tweaks to get back on track. What did I change? I called Heather and committed to not taking home work and found solutions for whom would do the extra work. BAM!

Action Steps:

  • James Clear offers a free email course titled: 30 Days to Better Habits: A simple step-by-step guide for forming habits that stick. You can sign-up for his free course on his website.
  • James is the author of Atomic Habits. It is a great read and I’d recommend it.
  • James posts on Instagram the lessons from his book. I enjoy being reminded daily of the science behind habits and how to incorporate the lessons in my daily life.

Credit: @aprilhilerdesigns

3. Be Inspired to Create

To build a successful habit, the old habit needs to be replaced with a healthy new one. In my case, I loved watching BBC because I enjoy a good drama. The story telling, the costumes in period pieces, the relationships. I knew that in order for me to stop losing myself in Jane Austen, I had to find someplace else for me to focus my attention.

So, I turned to podcasts. Specifically, I started to listen to podcasts on creativity. In my search, I came across David duChemin and his LOVELY podcast; A Beautiful Anarchy. His opening statement on his website is:

“A Beautiful Anarchy is a heart-felt kick-in-the-pants podcast for everyday creators and anyone who’s ever mud-wrestled with their muse. Hosted by photographer and author David duChemin, these 15-minute podcasts are an honest and sensitive exploration of the joys and struggles of the creative life.”


The clouds parted and a beam of light radiated down into my skull as the choirs erupted into Beethoven Symphony No9 of Ode to Joy! I told you! I like a good drama!!

David started his podcast during the early months of Covid when he was grounded from traveling as a humanitarian photographer. I’m sorry that David’s life was disrupted, but boy did some good come from it. I haven’t heard a bad episode yet out of his 80 that he has recorded. I even emailed David and asked him to stop by for lunch sometime when he is in Port Townsend, but he is now on the road once again.

Action Step:

Credit: @recollectedpiecesjewelry

Are you still with me? Are you feeling slightly curious and inspired to explore your own practices to bring more joy and meaning? I sure in the heck hope so! It sure beats where I was mentally last month!!

Check back next week for more practices that we can explore together!


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One thought on “8 Practices to Bring You Joy & Meaning – Part 1

  1. Christine says:

    Well said all around. And not a coincidence perhaps that I just finished reading David Duchemin’s Sunday newsletter “The Contact Sheet” just before visiting here. David’s recently been changing up his photography communication flow; if you’ve listened through his list of Beautiful Anarchy podcasts which are more generally dedicated to the creative process, consider also keeping an eye on his Craft & Vision website blog for more inspiration. Some folks might find his photography-oriented recommendations, ie, his basic process for managing editing flow, translatable to other endeavors.

    David’s Sunday morning posts are my version of church.

    Happy Sunday!

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