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For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live

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Joy, Rump Shaking and the Dalai Lama

Joie de vivre or the joy of life is one of my core values.  Back in December of last year my life coach, Nancy* ( largely responsible for me consciously knowing my core values) requested that I take joie de vivre as my buddy for the week.  She even suggested  I use compassion and creativity (also core values) to bring about happiness and vitality.  Since it was the holiday season, a time when I usually lose my mind and soul in details, I found the idea of cultivating joy, rather than mania, appealing.

I started thinking about what joie de vivre means.  It seemed to me to be a vivid way to experience life.  Taking the bland routines and adding some spice.  A shift from one foot in front of the other to dancing without looking at your feet.  Two images came to mind as perfect examples of living joyfully outside of expectations.

The first was a scene from the Minnesota State Fair.  My family and I were piled up with twenty other eager, bright-eyed people on a tiny sidewalk island waiting to cross congested Snelling Avenue.  We were on our way in to the fair.  We were relatively carb free and sporting fresh sunscreen.  The other side of Snelling supported heat dazed, cheese curd stuffed,  families wearing sleeping children.  They were on their way out of the fair.  Both sides  impatiently waited for the go ahead to cross from a white gloved officer in the middle of the street.  Traffic was bumper to bumper.  Drivers were eager to arrive but frustrated by difficult parking or  eager to leave but held up by transportation bottlenecks.  It was hot and everyone would have understood if the traffic cop lost his cool and blew his whistle non-stop or yelled at unfocused drivers, but no this officer was dancing in the street.  He wasn’t just doing a two-step; his large John Goodman body reveled in rump-shaking.  His big behind bumped up and down then retracted as he leaned back and shimmied his arms and chest.  He shuffled from side to side and laughed as he guided everyone to genuine smiles.

Another love of life moment was relayed to me by Katy, a friend and former writing classmate.  Katy found herself one day excused from a college class in order to attend a somewhat private luncheon with his royal highness the Dalai Lama.  Joining Katy was a friend of hers, a tall, manly-man once drafted into the NHL. They, along with a hundred other lucky participants, breathed in awe and reverence as the global spiritual leader, whose self-proclaimed religion is kindness, was praised and honored during the lengthy meal.  At the closing of the luncheon, all were silent as the Dalai Lama and his entourage exited the room.  As the esteemed group in draping red robes passed the table where Katy and her friend sat, the Dalai Lama stopped.  In a moment of pure spontaneity, he stuck his two pointer fingers into the ribs of the NHL player and wiggled them around while squealing Hoo, hoo, hoo! 

Using those images as touchstones for joie de vivre I began to fulfill Nancy’s request. Being a dutiful student, I was highly motivated by the fact that I would have to report to her the following week.  I did not want to fail at joy.  So I found myself saying yes to baking cookies AND making hot chocolate for the kids.  I chose thoughtful holiday gifts for relatives after leisurely perusing through catalogs (inspiring for me).  I bought a notebook with Michael Jackson on the cover – just because I think he’s cool.  I picked the brighter lipstick rather than the more conservative.  I made sure we made a trip to the local sledding hill.  All of this brought a lightness into our world, but my favorite moment of play came the morning I woke the kids up wearing a clown nose.  Instead of being grumpy about going to school, they giggled and shook their heads at my goofiness.  I felt ease wash over us. Everywhere possible I fit in moments of fun for fun’s sake. What developed was a carefree atmosphere for everyone, even me, the one pushing and arranging the frivolity.  Sure the holidays were still hectic but the joy gave my tired mind a break and my spirit a lift.  More importantly, I figured out it’s possible to be joyful without engineering the whole thing.  I only have to notice the opportunities and instances.  I couldn’t wait to tell Nancy.

How much joie de vivre can you stand?  Have a blast finding out.:)

I’d love to hear about your flair for living.

*Nancy Okerlund of


I would love to inform you of updates on space2live.  Please click on EMAIL UPDATES WOOHOO! on the right hand side of the homepage.   🙂

By | 2015-09-22T16:07:50-05:00 March 11th, 2011|Categories: Parenting, Popular Posts|Tags: , , , , |15 Comments

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  1. lindaknowles March 13, 2011 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Brenda is beyond Bombeck; she is gracefully becoming a Ring Lardner. Has the Messiah come back from the suburbs? Will Brenda pass Go and become Dorothy Parker? What I’m driving at is, Brenda can skip all those pedestrian outlets and focus on The New Yorker. As for me, I shall look up from the floor with my finger painting, and wait for Bren to hand me her brilliant palette for caricature: she’s also Thurber and Twain. Keep the satire coming, Brenda, follow no rules–invent them like Twain and Lardner did. They were masters of the vernacular and hit the bull’s-eye about the weary world. She’s in splendid company: I hear them chattering about her.
    Bill Ogle, just another fan

    • brennagee March 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm - Reply

      Bill your comment was so entertaining and over the top flattering. I had to look up Ring Lardner because I am such a neophyte.;) Follow no rules- invent them like Twain and Lardner did – love it!

  2. Erika Knowles March 13, 2011 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Even though we don’t have children yet, I hope that one day we can have a such a relationship with our children and that life will allow us to enjoy it as much as possible. You are inspiration.
    Much love to my new sister!

    • brennagee March 13, 2011 at 10:47 am - Reply

      Erika raising kids is a crazy roller coaster ride. You do have to see the joy in it, whenever possible. I am learning that the relationship is the sacred part. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I appreciate your point of view.:)

  3. Roberta March 12, 2011 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Brenda, never knew you could write so well! I loved getting lost in your stories. I also loved your clown nose….I may have to try that with the kids. Thanks for sharing:)

    • brennagee March 13, 2011 at 10:52 am - Reply

      Thanks for reading and commenting Roberta! I appreciate your input. It’s good to see you online:)

  4. […] P.S. If you are in the mood for light reading and joy start here […]

  5. Jeff March 12, 2011 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Great memories. The John Goodman comparison was perfect.

    • brennagee March 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm - Reply

      😉 Jeff glad I could help you relive the fair. Summer tradition.:)

  6. Jennifer S. March 12, 2011 at 8:03 am - Reply

    Love, love, love this Brenda! Thank you so much for sharing your writing with us in this new venue!

    • brennagee March 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      Awww. Thank you Jennifer. Sharing with you makes me happy.:)

  7. Debbi March 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    Hello Erma Bombeck! She found the humor in the day to day all the time. Having someone to report to, in the beginning, somehow seems to give that extra shove. Funny how we have to be shoved into having fun 🙂 I used to live by that motto…enjoying the little things in every day. I realized when I read this that I need to get back on track…regardless of the tension in my system from the stressor of the month.

    • brennagee March 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      Debbi I’m so happy my write-up reminded you of your motto to enjoy the little things.:) My dream for this blog is for it to be a place to slow down and savor living.:)

  8. Sally Johnson March 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Love this post. Cannot wait to see you when we meet!!!

    “Joie de Vivre” by Picasso:

    I saw this for the first time recently and cannot wait to get a print of it to hang in a prominent place in my life.

    • brennagee March 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      I’d never seen that Picasso piece Sally. It has all the makings of joy: music, dancing, nudity 😉 Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to catching up with you and talking about life and writing!

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