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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Cole

Holding a Space for Joy

Frivolous or a deeper hidden purpose... ?? The act of setting time aside to make something from nothing or simply enjoying what you enjoy however lighthearted it seems on the surface - can facilitate true joy, which in our confusing and chaotic times, is no small thing...


Double-dose of HAPPY - in the word itself and the shadow behind it as well :-)


I’ve been making fairies, rainbow crafts and running my tiny fairy themed micro-biz for a few years now, and needless to say – I love it and it brings me a lot of joy. Occasionally though, in the context of all that is going on in the world around us right now fairy-making and spending so much time hanging-out in rainbow-fairy-unicorn land, can feel quite frivolous.

I do engage with the news, listen to what is going on in the world around me, think deeply about Climate Change, the future of my children, and the constant chaos and uncertainty in the political landscape. When I think about it all, it really can fill me with a very deep sense of existential angst, frustration and overwhelm, and I want to do what I can to contribute to the changes needed in the world. Hanging out with the fairies, on the surface of things, can perhaps seem like a bubble of denial, rather than the conscious act that it really is, to find joy amidst the everyday.

Making really is my happy place – and it is way more to me than simply zoning-out and escaping worldly realities. It is in fact a form of spiritual practice; it takes time, effort, commitment, to go deep beyond the anxiety and do what it takes to ‘find a way home’.

Finding that sense of ease, joy, fulfilment, and that I am home within myself, for me, really does come from starting a creative project and seeing it through to the end, however long it takes. There is something very soulful – in a world where our individual work responsibilities can so often be one small part of a much bigger picture – about seeing something start from nothing, emerge into something new, whole and complete, and to have been there for the entire process. It doesn’t really matter what the craft, art or project, I believe this sense of fulfilment comes from any kind of making, and that there is as much intrinsic value in a pompom (or a handmade fairy!) as there is a fine work or art!

I also know from the conversations that I have with people at markets, and my own response to the huge variety of things that other artists and crafts-people make and sell, that we all do need still, things that just lighten the mood. Evoke a feeling of play, or innocence, or frivolity. Or maybe beauty, something that takes our breath away, or just inspires in us a sense of lightness, curiosity and joy. Handmade crafts of all varieties can really spark a sense of wonder, which ultimately inspires joy…

Maybe all of this is stating the obvious, but I for one sometimes need to remind myself that joy – and whatever inspires it – is not a luxury or a frivolity, even in these challenging times. It is one thing that can help me fill my well, feel rested and nourished, and ultimately give the strength and courage it can take just to be in the world today. Maybe even, to consciously own my joy, can in fact be its own small political act. And, I would venture a step further and say that, not only do I seek to give myself permission to find ways to be joyful amidst the uncertainty, but I see it as a bit of a personal responsibility too - to look after my "joy levels" - because I know how contagious it can be! When I am happy and well, usually, by extension, my family are too...

However frivolous it might seem at times then, when I fully embrace the playful things, activities, crafts and practices that light me up, I am not only holding a space for joy, but for healing and spiritual wellbeing too.


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