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Snapdragon blog


the importance of joy

The word Joy has been following me around this year.

It cropped up again and again when I was working with Kayte Ferris to sort out exactly what direction I wanted Snapdragon to take and it ended up front and centre in our About page and all social media bios.

But though it was there - my aim is to help people create joyful lives - I wasn't absolutely sure what that looked like in practical terms.

I didn't want it to be trite or easy - it wasn't yet another pile of inspirational quotes.

It wasn't about bright colours or animation or childlike illustration. It couldn't be about creating 'joyful designs' because I don't believe that mindlessly buying 'stuff' leads to joy. I certainly have no wish to be a coach or inspirational speaker as I love designing.

It was all still a bit fuzzy as I headed off on holiday.

And then . . .

We started off our break with The Good Life Experience in Wales - it is a Festival of all the random stuff that makes life great - music, talks, books, food, drink, making things, being outdoors.

One of the Founders, Charlie Gladstone, says that it is a festival that changes people's lives.

This year it changed mine.

I listened to Lia Leendertz talk about the importance of noticing seasonal change, to Mark Shayler talk of Kindness and Joy, to Hannah Jane Walker talk about sensitivity. And I talked to a lot of people, in queues for food, watching cookery demonstrations, making herbal potions, at the Feasts.

And the same things kept coming up in all these conversations - a need for different ways of measuring success, a drive towards Joy, the importance and power of mindful intentional spending. Connection, Creativity.

My mind buzzed the entire weekend - it was like having an electric crackle in there.

If there is power in using our attention and spending in intentional ways there is even more power in my using my voice and design skills in intentional ways. My challenge now is to put that at the centre of what remains a designer-maker business.

I wrote this far while on holiday in Majorca last week.

In the airport, returning home, I made the mistake on turning on Facebook notifications and looking at the news. The torrent of soap opera politics, the ignored regulations, the corruption and death all flooded out.

The entire flight home I was pondering that this idea - this quest to make everything about something as ephemeral as Joy - was too frivolous, not political enough. Maybe it would look too Pollyanna-ish, maybe people would think it was for those with easy lives.

Then we landed and I switched my phone back on and the first post I saw on my instagram feed was of one of the most inspirational women I know. An explanation of why she was stopping further treatment for Cancer, a note of the short time she has left, and a raging scream of a plea for people to grasp the joy of their lives and live every single second.

And looking at her - and the way she lives - I absolutely knew that grasping the joys in life is actually the most political thing anyone can do.

One of the first things we are doing is over in the Snapdragon Bee Facebook Group where there is a Friendship thing going on - it is too complicated to explain here but you can find out more and join in over there.

Comments: 2 (Add)

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ellen woollaston-cooper on September 29 2018 at 17:51

YES!!! Yes yes yes!!
Thank you.
We can shout and scream and have bad days, but underlining it all should always be about living every single moment intentionally, with kindness and fully! Love fiercely. And when your deck is down, pick it up, shuffle it, look at it upside down and you'll find something new. Something to be in awe of. Something to inspire. We've got to stop finding excuses for not being happy. Joy is every where around us. And if you've got it, it shares and spreads beautifully without thinning so go for it! I might have Cancer, and my timeline is ridiculously shortened, but I'm still living, every day, every moment as best I can. Because I'll be dead when I'm dead. It is what it is. In the meantime I've got days to grasp all the joy and share it around where I can!
With lots of love, Ellen xx

Snapdragon Jane on September 29 2018 at 18:59

Yes! Joy and love can spread and spread without ever diminishing,
J x