Posts tagged ‘joy’

September 1, 2018


by lisa st john

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future.

If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay.

Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously.

Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky.

Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” –Thich Nhat Hanh


O.K. was born, then grew up to be okay.

There’s been a few times in my life when I heard something and–despite all the turmoil and fear and shitty things going on in the world–I knew that everything was going to be okay. I knew that good, true life was all around if I chose to see it. Here are a few examples.



After a class discussion on the relevance of A Handmaid’s Tale
Distraught looking white female student about to leave…
     Me: “Hey, are you okay?”
Student: “I…I think I just realized that I’m a minority.”
Sad looking white male student after hearing how often girls in the class have been catcalled …
     Student: “I am so sorry. I’m sorry. I never knew how bad it was for all of you out there. I never      knew.”

After walking into the ocean for the first time after Kent died

crying… “I’m still here. The ocean is always here, always, alive.”




The best examples of hearing the okay-ness of the world have come from my beautiful son. Happy Birthday, Little Bear.


During a National Geographic video
MOM… how can people look at giraffes and not believe in evolution?” (age: 6-ish)

After school
“Mom! You’re not gonna believe this poet I just found out about in English class today.”
Me: “Honey, I’m an English teacher myself I think I know….”
“Trust me mom, you don’t know THIS guy. His name is Charles Bukowski!” (age: high school)

During a guided viewing of the Robert de Niro & Kenneth Branagh Frankenstein film (because we all know who the real monster is)
Deep sigh, hands thrown in the air, head rolling back against couch…
Me: “What’s wrong? Is it getting too scary?”
Eye roll…
“NO! But, but NOW who am I supposed to feel sorry for?” (age: 8-ish)

During a visit to Detroit for the Women’s Convention
“Mom, we’ve got something to tell you. I’m going to be a father.”





How about some joy?           How about some deep, soulful joy?


One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do. –Pinkola Estes



May 30, 2016

Some Things I Know

by lisa st john


I may not know the difference between a rosebush and raspberries, admittedly. But there are some things I do know.


I know rain at an outdoor celebration staved off by kindness.
I know the universal joy of sharing a meal with the blurred line of friends and family.

I may not know why Pi can do what it does, or why ferns speak fractals and they, in turn, speak chaos.

But I know the blissful tears of the father and the harmonious tears of the mother. I know that the tenuous strands of young love spin and weave, creating the strength of an unbreakable union.

With the multitude of horrible things in this world—things I do not want to know—I am indebted to the goddess of perspective for allowing me to also see the first hummingbird of the season, and to hear the “wild rumpus” of worshipped children.

And if there is a secular word for “blessed” then please, someone tell me. Because I am.

I know pain, but also gracious healing. I know fear, but also comfort. I know the darker side of turmoil and the gentle light of peace. And right now, in this moment, I am alive with all I know.


Ponderings is available at Finishinglinepress or you can get a signed copy from me directly 15.00.

August 25, 2015


by lisa st john

Unlike some of my sisters out there in the world, I do not choose to wear the veil that covers me. My friend calls it a “Saran Wrap” of sadness. I didn’t realize that I had it until she told me. But it’s there. It’s a veil. It’s thin and breathable but it’s there. I’m not sad all the time anymore, but I wasn’t sure I could ever say, “I’m happy” again and really mean it. Not until now.


It has been 1,006 days since my husband, Kent, died. But it’s also been 10, 588 days since my fabulous son was born. He will be 29 years old this year, and that blows my mind. He is handsome and gentle and intelligent and successful in every sense of the word. He has a beautiful fiancée and just moved into his first (fabulous) home. I have been hanging here trying to help out and trying not to get in the way. And I think the veil got thinner.

Have they put something in my drink? Did my own kid rufi me? Or is it possible that my sadness has found a quiet spot? Their joy is contagious. Even the German Shepherd, Missy, catches it. She ran sprints around the new house yesterday, almost knocking over the yet-to-be-hung bazillion-inch television. And I swear that dog was smiling. We call her “Soul Puppy” because her love is so curative. How could I cry when a sweet little pup was licking my face? What right did I have to be mourning when I could instead take part in the supreme joy that is puppy romping?

The breeze here is warm and inviting. The sky is bluer than I ever remember. The world is lush with life and newness and bliss. Now I not only recognize it, but feel a bit of it too. The veil is thinning. So all of you joyous people out there, please remember: SHARE. Dance in the grocery store and sing while driving and laugh and laugh and laugh. Those of us with veils need it.

p.s.: Thank you artists. Thank you for making “a joyful sound” and sharing the beauty.

p.p.s: Shout out to some of my favorite artists: Kaileigh Osarczuk, Amanda Palmer, Karhu Moon, and all the laughing children of the world.

I just got this message from Finishing Line Press: “Your book will be going to print very soon. I will keep you updated on when your file leaves for the printer.” Oh yea. You can get it here.

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