Quick, tell me your favourite pet peeve.

Quick, tell me what you hate about the world right now.

Quick, tell me what you can’t stand doing on weekends.

Quick, tell me why your boss or mother-in-law is a sociopath.

Easy, right?

<ahem> Hello? You’re still thinking about those nasty people and things, aren’t you?

Please put down your pen, brave black heart.

Although I sort of asked you to do it, focusing on what we dislike or hate in our lives isn’t good for our well-being.

We don’t need the 2020 Gallup Global Emotions Report telling us we’re sadder, angrier, more worried and more stressed than 15 years ago. Duh!

Do you feel that news in your body? Of course you do.

Now imagine a purring kitten.

Your grandchild’s smile.

Biting into a fresh apple.

Laughing with your best friend.

Feeling better, aren’t you?

“Taste life and describe it to me” – that’s an art piece in our kitchen encouraging me to overeat. But the words also inspire me to write often and sometimes well.

Although the stereotype of the tormented sad-sack writer/artist still persists, it’s Joy that brings us to the page, daring to dream, create, and eventually share what’s in our heart and head.

Now here’s your risky challenge, grasshopper.

Make a Top 10 list of things, activities, flavours/scents, experiences you LOVE that do not cost time, energy or money.

Ah! Not so easy, eh?

Simple pleasures are easily overlooked in this hyper, distracted material girl-boy world.

Since this is my bright idea, here’s my fast-and-furious list: the muffled sound of snow, walking through leaves, coconut-oil bubble baths, hot strong black coffee, naps during the day, purring kitties, my partner’s laughter, hearing my mother’s voice, reading in bed, nighttime walks.

Notice I didn’t include a single thing about health and fitness. Your list mustn’t have any “should” activities.

In my heart, I’m quite lazy. I’m a Taurus. There are mornings I believe I should get a medal for just waking up. Getting dressed? Two medals.

How does a list of love help your creativity?

By making positive, joyful choices that actually enrich your day and mood, the Muse within gets interested in what you’re up to.

Listen to me. (And seriously, I am reading the riot act to myself too, dear friend. The past 18 months have been… you know it. What a bunch of stink.)

For us to attract more Joy and creativity into our lives, we really must make the intention to slow down and savour the small stuff. The free stuff. The tiny moments.

The gifts of being alive.

If that Top 10 Love List sounds like a stupid idea, guess what? I dare you to still make the list – go up to 20 items, baby, you need medicine – and then stick that list on your fridge.

And now add some of that Love List to your life, each and every day.

Within 72 hours you’ll have more Joy in your life. Yup, guaranteed. Pinky swear!

I am telling you: your Muse, otherwise known as your creativity, passion and life purpose, are always looking for signals that you’re open and looking for help and guidance.

If we want more Joy and creative risk-taking in our lives then we must be willing to wake up from the patterns of negativity, habitual everything, and commit to living differently, one step at a time.

Make that list. Post it on your fridge or bathroom mirror. And commit today or tonight to pick up a breadcrumb your Muse, your new creative life, dropped in front of you.

Joy informs and shapes our stories. Joy lights up your face and our world.

Remember, kind heart. When you’re in Joy or a state of appreciation, there’s no room for fear, stress, anger, worry or writer’s block.

Sure, the nasty narrative is always out there, chunking the waters and ready to bait you.

I am suggesting we all put a line in the water and fish for the fun creative stuff.

Joy looks good on you, kind heart. Chin up! We’re almost there.

♥ Shannon