The Lighter Side of Transformation

with Lisa Wessan, LICSW

TREMBLING WITH JOY…

on January 1, 2010

Imagine my surprise when I was decluttering some ancient papers from B.C. (before Chelmsford) this morning… and what turns up in the paper casket? A quote from a 2001 interview with Julia Childs, co-author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, “You should not be engaged in anything that doesn’t make you absolutely tremble with joy.” (Time Out New York, April 19, 2001, p. 176).

Bravo, Julia! To answer my question, “What is joy?” Julia is reminding me that if I follow my bliss, follow my most joyful attractions, and do what I love, I will never have to work another day in my life!

What about trembling? Thank you Julia for reminding me that trembling is good… First, it’s normal to want to be passionate about one’s work. Second, a little shaking and being wobbly, perhaps being out of my comfort zone, is often when the joy slips in after the challenge is completed. Living on the razor’s edge between fear and excitement can certainly lead to more joy in living.

I am reminded of my first tango lesson with my husband. We were both nervous… understandably so, being in a new environment with mostly slender, chic, graceful people around us. We were the only two chubbettes on the dance floor. But I felt proud that we were pursuing our joy regardless of our plus-sized bodies. Turns out, we love to tango, and we’re pretty good at it too. The initial trembling and excitement has blossomed into one of our sexy and fulfilling shared pastimes.

Whenever we take a new tango class, we may revisit our initial trembling – on the mild side – because we never know if the teacher will be good, non-judgmental, patient with beginners and so on. But therein lies the excitement of life, in not knowing… wouldn’t it be truly dull to know it all ahead of time?

What will happen in 2010? Where will we go? Who will we meet? How many creative new ways will we find to express our love? Will we learn to deeply forgive, accept and move on quicker in 2010? Will we finally clean out our basements, attics, closets and drawers?  Will we hit that high note in our career? Therein lies the excitement – in NOT KNOWING.

One of my favorite teachers once said, “True Mastery is learning to live in ambiguity with JOY!” When I first heard that in my early twenties, I was crushed – it seemed impossible for me at the time. Yet I have always held that up as a goal, to be able to live in the ambiguity, the paradox, the incongruity, with a more positive mindset, or at least be able to laugh at the absurdity of it all. What a concept! I continue to practice this one, perhaps for lifetimes… OY!… the fun never ends.

What do you think?

©2009 by Lisa Wessan. All rights reserved.


One response to “TREMBLING WITH JOY…

  1. Stephanie says:

    Spot on! Great article.

    I shall start this year’s first milonga with Julia Child’s quote in mind.

    May we tremble a lot in this next decade 🙂

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