to Out on a Limb, a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark
Scala. This free e-zine is meant to invite and inspire you
to maximize the joy in your life.
is Your Prompt
In a writing
class or workshop, a “prompt” is
given to suggest a starting point for the writer. Let’s
say the prompt is to write something about a tree or forest
in your childhood. If you write about the old oak tree in
the front yard, or a penchant for climbing trees, or the
treehouse club you once belonged to, or living on a tree-less
street in the city, the prompt has worked. Think of it as
a creative nudge: the kindling that often gets a fire started.
Some people sit down and write beautiful poems and stories
without any external prompts. A voice, feeling, reaction,
memory or idea emerges from within, and that is enough to
get the writing started. Others rely on external prompts
to get their pens moving across a page that might have remained
blank without that creative nudge.
Likewise, some people seem to tap into joy without external
assistance. Others need a prompt or reminder. If on any given
day it looks like your glass will be perpetually half-empty,
you may need a prompt to turn your perspective around. You
may already have some prompts that are uniquely yours. If
so, GREAT; my prompt for you is to use one of your prompts,
as needed, and keep adding more!
If you feel like you are prompt-deprived, it may be too
overwhelming if I suggest that you think about things that
have brought joy to you in the past. So, my prompt for you
is to think about each of your senses. Is there something
that, when seen, lifts you to a better place? The picture
above (with thanks to photographer Bob Kato) reminds me of
the luminarios in El Paso, Texas at Christmas-time, when
I was a young child. Is there a sound in nature or in music,
made by you or others, that is particularly uplifting? What
would taste really good right now, and how might it alter
your attitude or mindset? If you could sniff something that
would transport you to a joyful memory, what would it be?
And finally, I bet your fingers or skin have touched a beloved
plant, pet, object or person that gave you joy. Hopefully,
these questions, have set your pen in motion across the page
that might have the following heading: Prompts for Joy.
is no way I can give you a list of prompts that will be
tailored to your needs, preferences, and sensitivities.
That said, my holiday gift to you is the following list
of sights, sounds, and clips that just happen to bring
me joy. (With thanks to YouTube!) Most of these are 2 minutes
or shorter so please don’t say “I don’t
have time for this!” Either click on the “click
here” or cut and paste the url into your web browser.
You may take a look at them and say, “not for me,” and
that is just fine. But perhaps, even in knowing what is “not
for me,” you will be prompted to remember something
that is totally tailored to your needs and who you are.
here for a baby’s infectious
Moving and Inspiring: Click
here for Paul Potts’ rendition
of Nessun Dorma on the TV show, “Britain’s Got
That’s Creative and Clever: Click
a music video by OK Go that you won’t forget:
That Evokes Great Memories: Click
here for a brief
clip from a recent trip to Portugal. This video was shot
with a digital camera, while riding a bicycle, by my husband,
Bill. The song of the sheep bells, alone, is a magnificent
to Make You Laugh Out Loud: Click
here for a weather report
that made me laugh so hard, I cried.
Sox Fans, Only: Click
here for Jonathan Papelbon, the Red
Sox’ no-nonsense closer, celebrating sweet
victory with a Riverdance.
YouTube may be fun, but there’s nothing like the great
outdoors. Turn off your computer, get outside, and remember
the sights, sounds, touches, smells, and even the tastes
that are available in abundance. Add to your list of Prompts
means do I have joy “figured out.” Please
do not assume that I do! I write Out
On a Limb as much
as a meditation for myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy,
as for you. I think this pursuit is a lifelong journey
and that the full experience of joy is, at best, episodic.
May we all have more episodes!
Martha Clark Scala, MFT • 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 •