Over the next couple of months, every fortnight you’ll be hearing from an incredible soul within The Daisy Patch community in our Joy Embodiment Series. They’re sharing their own ‘Joy Stories’ – how they embody joy in their lives, what it has meant to them, and a few lessons along the way. I trust you enjoy connecting with them and their joy as much as I have.
When I think about joy, I immediately think of the freedom to be me.
I think for a long time I tried so hard to fit other people’s idea of who I was or should be that I denied myself so much joy. Joy for me is living life as my authentic self, not being set to one definition of what that is and seeing where it leads me next.
A few years ago I started to learn about ‘mindfulness’, it was the buzz word of the moment that seemed too simple to be effective. I read a Harvard Business Review book on mindfulness in the workplace which defined mindfulness as “the process of actively noticing new things” and the “essence of engagement”. After reading that book I started to be more present in the moment; I looked up from my phone more and actively and mindfully experienced the world around me. It was then that I realised the pure joy that existed in the smallest things, the wonder and awe of a full moon or the colours that dance across the sky at sunset, the vastness of the stars, the softness of a summer breeze.
Pure joy for me lies in those moments where I am present in the world around me and connect with nature, there aren’t words to describe the moments when that connection sparks something in me.
Two of my biggest moments of growth that have taught me so much on my journey are when I moved to London after graduating, and then later moving to Italy.
Moving to these new places changed me immensely, both in different ways. London taught me to be more ambitious and unapologetic about investing in my dreams. In a city where every minute is valuable, I learned how to say no to things (and people) that were draining excess energy.
Italy has taught me the importance of balance in life; Italians really embrace a work, play, rest mentality and holidays are really downtime here which really forced me to slow down and connect with myself on a deeper level after the fast-paced ways of London.
Moving to different countries also forced me to reflect on my ideals. Did I value something simply because of my previous limited experiences? Was I going a certain direction in life simply because of the influence of those around me?
New places present you with new people and stories that challenge your preconceived ideas of not only the way the world moves but also of yourself.
The lessons I keep returning from these moments are learning to say no; learning to be unapologetic about what I want; and learning that boundaries are not selfish even when you are building them with those closest to you.
Breathing and pausing to be grateful is the one thing that always brings me back to my place of joy.
I think breath work is so powerful. It helps you instantly reconnect with yourself and drown out the noise around you. When I want to reconnect with joy or be more mindful about where it exists in my life I pause to breathe and then list all the moments, people and things in my life that I am grateful for in that moment.
Danielle asked me what ways I believe I “live and lead” my life from a place of joy. And I really believe that it’s through my creativity.
Being a creative means accepting the ‘process’ of creation – there is no right or wrong or direct path, you have to live in the process which is always changing.
I try to take this mindset with me into other aspects of my life like when I’m faced with challenge or change – I know it won’t be easy but I accept that it is a process and try to move forward mindfully. I think people often equate joy with happiness, but that’s not always the case; for me joy is about approaching things more playfully, more mindfully and without the urge to control the situation.
My debut book ‘The Magic of You’ is now available for presale. It will publish in the US and Canada on August 3rd and on September 9th for the rest of the world.
Find out more & connect with Laura:
Laura Jane is the creator, illustrator and writer behind @laurajaneillustrations and hellohappee.com, where she aims to create content that helps people connect with themselves in a more mindful and meaningful way. She is a mental wellbeing advocate and home yoga lover. She has previously worked as an Early Years and Primary school teacher and currently lives with her partner and puppy in North Italy. Her debut book ‘The Magic of You’ is a mini book packed full of inspiration to give you little pick-me-ups and to inspire you to create your dreams, available now at www.hellohappee.com.
Connect further with Laura at www.hellohappee.com and @laurajaneillustrations on Instagram, Tiktok and YouTube