And I’ve been wondering since I first came up with the idea of “Bring Joy to the Table.” How do I write about “joy” when I’m not feeling it, when world or personal events have me mad, or sad. Which is the deeper value–authenticity or joy? If only I could choose both. Maybe I can.
For most of us, the Senate Judiciary hearings this past week were painful, though thankfully with a ray of hope at the end. As I tuned in to hear the testimony, I was also getting ready for a two day conference called Conversations with Exceptional Women: Finding Her Voice.
The conference was hosted by the Alturas Institute, an organization devoted to civic education, gender equality and civil discourse. The many speakers included Nobel Peace prize winner/activist Jody Williams who worked to help ban land mines, and Caroline Heldman who worked to support victims of sexual abuse, particularly in the Bill Cosby case. There were many other outstanding women from almost every field: government and politics, literature, clinical psychiatry, screen writing, banking, and education. It was two days of thoughtful, intelligent, inspiring discussion about women and the professional paths they’ve chosen that have made positive differences in other people’s lives.
I was impressed with the hopeful, resilient attitudes of these women who are out there doing incredibly courageous things. As I listened and talked with other conference participants, I began to feel empowered to be more courageous myself, to speak my truth and act on it. Along with this, I know I want to focus on the good, on inspiration, on bringing as much “joy to the table” as I can. Can I do both? I believe I can.
SO…this time, blog readers, my ode to joy is in the form of gratitude–for having attended a conference which has given me new ideas and a reading list of inspiring books by strong women, for being able to share it with my husband who also attended the conference, and for the vibrant fall colors in Sun Valley that make me say, “Wow! I’m so thankful to be alive.”