It can be hard to maintain a joyful mindset. Even if you have the cheeriest disposition, are thankful and joyful in the grand scheme of things, and commit to taking steps to find joy as a matter of everyday habit, all you need to do is go online where gloom, doom and negativity will flood your screen. Current events are volatile.  Local communities are struggling. Global affairs are tenuous. At times, it’s hard to know what to believe or to be blunt: what the hell is going on.

Talk about a buzzkill for feeling joyful!

Unplugging helps. Another BIG PLUS is decluttering anything in your life that does not bring you joy. (That is another topic, entirely!) But recently, I personally wanted something to stretch me even more.  So, I had to ratchet up my mindful game with some new tools — ways to not only re-focus and maintain joy, but also to help keep me centered.

I have my habitual toolkit: using my go-to essential oils, such as Cedarwood, Sandalwood and Frankincense, surrounding myself in nature whenever possible, and of course, taking warm, salty baths to relax me and help me unwind.  But this time I wanted something old school to add to the mix. I like journaling, which packs many surprising benefits – it’s a great way to evoke mindfulness, it’s helpful to stay present and even helps in the healing process. But I wanted something a bit more specific, rather than blank pages for me to fill up.  Something that could function as a kind of “assistant” for my mindfulness journey.  And there it was, spotted on a shelf in a NYC store…

a mindfulness journal

This incredible journal is the perfect tool to extend the centering and mindful message of our our Salty Bath mantra cards. A nifty, digest-sized journal, “Do One Thing Every Day That Centers You” helps guide me on my path for creating a centered, joyful life. This dynamo is filled with inspiration from poets, writers, entrepreneurs, athletes, scientists, authors, philosophers, presidents, saints and gurus and coupled with loads of prompts and activities to “help you grow in heart, mind, body and spirit.” This felt like my partner in crime, and I was happy to read the following intro:

The word “centers” in its use today, and even in the title of this book, is a slippery one, often defined by other intangible terms — mindfulness, gratitude, wholeness, groundedness, focus, flow, serenity, self-knowledge, and self-acceptance. The best definition, however, comes not from the heady realm of ideas, but from the hands-on-world of craft. Every potter knows how difficult it is to learn how to center clay on wheel.  It takes hours and hours and days and days of dedication and practice, until your hands “know” the clay well enough to center it. If you move ahead too early, your pot will be unsteady, fragile, and unattractive. But once you find the center, your pot – whatever your personal desire for it – will be balanced, secure and beautiful.

The imagery this conjured up really resonated for me.

For most people, creating a centered life, like molding that pot, requires dedication and practice.

Indeed, this handy little book stated its goal:

You will be urged to expand your knowledge and to edge it toward wisdom. You will appreciate the places, people, and experiences that give peace to to your body and meaning to your life.

As someone who not only considers herself lucky, I am also deeply grateful for the life I have (and all the people and experiences it encompasses).  At the same time, the idea of taking this foundation and expanding it, deepening it, excites me. As the English poet, Walter de la Mare said “Go far; come near; You still must be the center of your own small mystery,” we can all use a bit of inspiration and prompting when we are dedicated to being mindful… or going inward. It’s so easy to fall off our center in that process.

I love that the pages in the journal are unnumbered, it’s fun to flip to a page and land on something meant to stretch you, calm you, focus you, etc. and then you can always refer back to them when you need to.  Like this little gem, pictured below.

a mindful prompt

Ever have a day where, despite best intentions and plans, you feel like you are just having to react to less than ideal situations, or stuff pops up where you feel like a ship lost at sea? This is especially true for working moms and entrepreneurs who struggle with work/life balance, and for whom finding your center can feel more challenging than not. Daily life is hectic, and it’s often hard to find little opportunities to catch our breath, slow down, and get more introspective. This mindful journal is one way to help solve for that.

I also think we are way more resilient and creative than we give ourselves credit for. Having a sound body, and serene mind takes effort, sure, but exercises like this remind us that it’s also ok to recognize — celebrate, even — those times when we defy “bad weather.” It also allows us to not only feel a sense of accomplishment – but let’s face it, gives us permission to let off some much-needed steam too. That’s just one page, the book is chock-full of awesome stuff that will expand your awareness.

If, like me, your life is full and busy, you know all too well how easy it is to lose your center. Sometimes I think to myself, “why do I take on so much…I must be crazy!” But when I think about what things I should cut back on — I have 2 businesses, I’m an actress, and Mom of 3, plus 2 furry pups — I don’t want to give up anything, and especially relish my time with my kids, husband, pets and home life.

Recently, I had a conversation with someone while attending Accepted Students Day at The New School / Parsons School of Design where my son will go this Fall.  Turns out, in fact, that my son is not only attending my alma mater, but has also chosen the same major I studied: Strategic Design and Management. Sitting there that day in one of the breakout sessions, I was overcome with the most surreal joy I have experienced — reminiscing about my student days there 28 years ago was pretty intense coupled with my son’s journey ahead of him. But the program director mentioned the word “multi-passionate” as a word to describe the students in the program. It was that moment that centered me in a profound way…when I realized – hey! that is me! – and also why being centered can also feel so fleeting when you are passionate about, and equally engaged in, so many things. Even with the love and support I have, there are days that make me want to pull my hair out.

As the mindful journal mentioned, it’s a slippery slope. Even the most positive, creative, successful people need guidance, tricks and tools to SLOW DOWN, and stay on the elusive path to a centered life. Getting grounded and being mindful in this crazy world is powerful and it’s healthy. So, take time to honor that. Take time (even 5 to 10 minutes will work wonders) to do one thing to center you today. If that seems like a confusing, but intriguing, concept and you don’t know where to start, use the example in the photo above… or pick up the same journal I did. This Ralph Waldo Emerson quote from the book may also help inspire you to tune in to that inner voice. “Trust to that prompting within you.” Here’s to defying bad weather … and finding joy…together!

How will you find the joy today? How will it center you?