Joy in the shared table

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is not so much a hierarchy as a two tiered sponge cake …

The physiological needs – food, water, shelter – on which all other needs rely; the base and always the thicker twin of any cut sponge.

Self-actualisation; the top and invariably the more fragile, threatening to break until safely set in place.

And then the middle cream and jam; with time and ambient temperature, a fruit-punctuated mousse – those deficiency needs of Maslow’s: safety (personal, financial and health), love/belonging (friendship, family and intimacy) and esteem (respect from others and self).

New theories sensing that none are more, or less, important, that the other.

And as I was looking down at the needs – whether offered as the traditional pyramid or the less-traditional sponge – I was reminded of the value of a shared table; how a shared table could meet all of these needs, or assist in the meeting if all of these needs.

Food is such a large part of my life – but the majority of my meals are eaten alone …

… what, then, the impacts?




LTLpsh … supporting the very small voice


I am the kind of person who needs a little push.

I need someone inviting me, poking me, or something that prods me, into the first step.

I would love to be the person who sees the opportunity – the potential fun to be had in the unknown or undiarised … who is energised by the mere thought of doing something.

I know those people – you know those people. They are the ones that are surrounded by a group, who are always ‘out’ … they seem very light, carefree … the human equivalent of a Van Gogh wind.

The odd element in my life – I am the person who gets energy from both the unknown and the undiarised … when I’m doing them.

It’s just the first step that needs to be taken … by me … that offers the obstacle.

I was at home yesterday … a Friday … a sunny Friday … a Friday where I should have felt compelled, at the very least, to step outside.

I know that ‘should’ indicates a whole host of other issues … but I ‘should’ have because I knew that I would feel better if I did. I knew that I would feel more connected to the world and with that, my energy levels would rise and with that, I would be more inclined to step out a little further and with that … who knows …

… and yet … I couldn’t drag myself from the dark that had become my apartment (I had closed the blackout blinds at 6am after deciding not to go to the gym) until 4pm and a yin yoga class.

Even then, if truth be told, as well as the enticing idea of a class that I generally can’t get to and that required only a passive-me, I needed the little push of the imminent arrival of house guests and conversation that my brain was not prepared for …

So I stepped out of the house.

And the class was delicious – smile-inducing. And it allowed me to work out my plans for the evening and have those plans fully formed when I returned to houseguests who are also good friends. And, when I returned to good friends, I was mentally prepared and genuinely happy to see them which, in turn made them comfortable, which, in turn, made me happy …

And it started with a first step – out of the house.


Humans of New York : 11 August 2011

I have kept this post in my head for rather a while (over six years apparently) … and I think …. what if I took more first steps more often and what if I made this motto mine …

And then it makes me think – how do I put the idea that ‘I should’ into an action that I do.

… insert emoji thinking face here …

… and then a voice in my brain, rolling its eyes (I anthropomorphise regularly) : “What’s the point? What’s the real chance of ‘wonderful’? Nothing’s going to change” …

… and if there’s no point …. then why do …?

And then a very small voice, soul-piquingly disheartened by the immediacy of the negative response, attempts a very small coup …

How to support the very small voice?

… another insertion … another emoji thinking face …

What is the most joyful language in the world?

I have just come from an osteopathic appointment where I spoke French for an hour … for me, French allows me to lose myself; it’s as if the wide, low, three-rail farm gates leading to an expanse of my brain not used in the everyday have swung open on oiled hinges.

To speak French is satisfying; chocolate cake-level satisfaction for me …

It is a beautiful language; poetic, fluid, melodic, elegant …

… but it is not necessarily a joyful language.

What is the most joyful language in the world? What is the most joyful culture in the world?

What do I think that ‘joy’ even is?



Acquaintances are low-fat yoghurt

… well, not literally – more figuratively … stay with me – I’ll explain …

So last year, I moved – house, neighbourhood and state, job and sector … no point in doing things by eighths, quarters or halves …

It has involved lots of ‘new’, and lots of ‘change’. While I crave change … need it … the thought of it makes me uncomfortable in precisely equal measure.

Which means that when I do plunge, it is belly-flop sized as opposed to pin drop … and the scope is partly in retaliation for too long a period without change.

So – 2017 : new people, new places, new headspace, new ‘normal’ …

And – 2018 : a clear understanding that, my world with just me is functional; my world with people with whom I can be myself is atom-level satisfying.

And that’s the clear takeaway from the weekend past. At the moment, I have


acquaintances in Melbourne. Acquaintances are like low-fat yoghurt – technically they sustain but sometimes they serve to highlight that which is missing.

Because friends ask those questions that they already know the part-answer to. They prod and poke and scratch the surface …

And I know that all friendship takes time and I know that my friendships are ones that are few but lasting … but after having a weekend of friends, I am concluding that :

> friends that ask ‘how are you’ and wait for the response that they’ve already half-discerned = farm-fresh yoghurt with live cultures.


So – happiness will be partially dependent on friends.

So – I need to make friends ….

How does one go about making friends at the age of 39???


And today I did something …

Think of the foundations of yesterday – gym at 6am and then a day stretching in front of me, wide open with possibility …

And, instead of curling inwards – I curled outwards …

Walking up the street in early-summer sun to a furniture sale.

Walking down the street with a Danish side table in brushed metal.

Tram-hopping – decision-making – decision-changing – grass-lying – music listening – grocery-shopping – contract-drafting – yoga-going …


alchemy-sensing …

and pleasure-giving …

What is joy? (#2)

I’m not so very religious …

I’m actually not religious at all.

I don’t believe in one god, because even each of those who believe in ‘one god’ have a different idea of what s/he is/does/looks like. I don’t believe that there is one set of detailed rules, although I do find it interesting that most of the religions that I have been introduced to are founded on the same basic handful. I don’t believe that one book, in any religion, tells the whole truth … because there is no truth, only perception by both author and reader.

So when I started researching the definition of ‘joy’, I was dismayed to find that the majority of the texts were published by theologians or spiritual schools … and I started to think that I should change the subject matter of this blog.

But then I found this:


Disney-imagined ‘joy’ …

Which made me smile.

And from there I found this :

“Happiness is an outward expression of elation. Joy is an inner peace or sense of contentment … ”

Through happiness – laughter, silliness, smiles – joy develops … ” Joy is believing in yourself. Joy is knowing we will make mistakes … but that we are still valuable and magnificent exactly as we are. Joy is knowing that laughter will lead us as we face difficult tasks. Joy is feeling the connection to each other.

… Joy is not in things, it is in us.”*


Where I thought that possibly joy is a subset of happiness – possibly it’s the other way round … or possibly they’re interdependent – can you be joyful without being happy? No. Can you be happy without being joyful – yes … I think …

So I’m going to embrace the Disney image and couple it with my own definition of joy:

“‘Joy’ is an emotion. It is transient. It is bright. It goes deep. It is a whole of body sensation felt when all is completely right with the world”





What is joy?

(n) : the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying;

: keen pleasure, elation;

: a source of keen pleasure or delight;

: something, or someone, greatly appreciated or valued …

With a definition of ‘happiness’ comes pleasure, contentment and joy. So pleasure, contentment and joy  are subsumed by the umbrella of happiness.

There is an element of the ‘extra’ in joy.

‘Joy’ is reliant, I think, on the unexpected element.

How does one ‘find’ an emotion that comes only from the existence of something that was not imagined?

Is it even possible to investigate what brings joy?