sheryl bee

practicing wholehearted, soulful living

Choose Joy (Don’t Forget the Grease Paint)

Don’t Forget the Grease Paint.  That’s the title of an article written by one of my profs at the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria.  Over the last 14 years of teaching, I’ve had to remind myself of the premise of his article:  infuse what you do with joy.

I’ll always remember how he started our first class.  He distributed two paper plates to each of us; didn’t tell us anything about what the plan was; just said “do what I do” and with that, he turned on the cd player (I can’t remember the song), stood on a chair and started tapping his paper plates to the song, as though he was conducting the orchestra.

We followed along, without question, and I felt the smile energy spread throughout the classroom.  It was brilliant, joyful and set all of us at instant ease.  This class was:  English Methodology for middle and high school teachers.  The introduction had nothing to do with analysis, literary elements, grammar, story maps, or punctuation.  But I sure remember the teacher and how he made me feel.  I felt energized, happy, ready to tackle any project.

That’s the key, isn’t it?  The quote that shows up regularly in FB feeds and on IG posts:

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

When I started teaching, I felt that more relaxed and easy creative way. I think that I had the fun factor and joy juice when my kids were little and when I ran my family day care program.

Now that I’m of a certain age (ha!), I find that I want to reclaim the joy factor; I want to remember the grease paint.

And I hope that this is not a spoiler alert for anyone, but I’m going to pay homage to the Paper Plate Orchestra on my first day of school.  Should I for all my classes?  Just my homeroom?  I don’t know, maybe I’ll start a version for all.

choose joy


It’s so important now, more than ever, that we all inject some joy into our day to day.  Here, for your brainstarter, a list of my 10 favourite joy-infusers:

  1. Bubbles! Get some.  Go out into the park, your backyard, and blow bubbles.  Instant stress-eliminator
  2. Bolo-bat: Remember those?  They are joyfully addictive.  Tap Tap Tap … fyi, my record is 120 ish (my professional tip:  look at the ball in the air only)
  3. Hula hoops: well, my record is 3 haha … but it’s a giggle fest
  4. Play bocci in the park with some friends. Bring a stuffed animal as a stand in for a missing friend.
  5. Watch the documentary Happy. It’s on Netflix.  Best 90 minutes spent.
  6. Watch giggling baby videos on YouTube. Oh, gosh, infectious!
  7. Create your own joy-power music play list. Copy it onto CDs and make a fun cover for your friends.
  8. Write a letter. No surprise that I’d include that here.  Doodle on the paper.  Add stickers.  Send it to a long lost friend or a new friend or your Mom or your sister.  Imagine the joy you spread!  That contributes to your own joy too.
  9. Buy a package of red balloons. Blow them all up.  Dance among them to the song 99 Luftballons (any versions, but I prefer the original German version)
  10. Watch the live cam of the otters at the Vancouver Aquarium. They sleep on their backs, holding hands.  My lovely friend once said it reminded her of holding hands while wearing mittens (also a joyful thing).


I’d love to hear what special treats give you great joy and help you spread joy.


Joyful heart hugs,

Sheryl xo

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.