My family and I traveled to Bend, Oregon, over Memorial Day weekend. If you haven’t been to Bend, we would highly recommend a visit! I was impressed by the water bowls placed outside of many shops for those like me who might be thirsty. Most shops even encouraged me to come on inside and had treats on hand. My momma said she was impressed with such a dog-friendly town, remarking on how many dogs were around, she even asked one shop owner if there was a dog convention in town. There wasn’t! We were looking at the Bend map when we noticed a unique item listed on the map, called The Bend Joy Project.

What is The Bend Joy Project? If you ask me, it’s a simple road map to create and share joy with others. After being in town for several days, we could see these were not just empty words stamped on a map. It was evident this was a way of living, based on the way the regulars interacted with us. I’ll share with you what my momma read, her thoughts on the matter, and let you decide for yourself.

Create it

Think of something that brings you or someone else joy. Kind words, generous actions, small deeds…they all count.

Joy can be found in any number of things, simple or elaborate, and is different for each of us. For me, I find joy in the special yummy treats that my family gives to me or those satisfying scratches behind my ear. I know I help to create joy in my momma’s life. It might be by my flying leaps through the air that cause her to laugh out loud. Or from the many kisses and the light ear nibbles I give, that makes her smile. She often hugs me tightly and says she’s thankful for the joy I bring into her life. What feels like joy to you? I encourage you to think about how you can create more joy for yourself and others in your life.

Do it

Do that thing, and capture it. Keep noticing and generating joy. What if The Bend Joy Project could touch and inspire goodwill in every single person in our community.

Could it be that simple, just doing one thing that feels like joy? I think it absolutely can! Think of something that feels like joy to you. In my opinion, what else creates joy like we dogs do?!  During our weekend in Bend, sitting around a campfire chatting about anything and everything that came to mind brought lots of joy to my family. As did wandering through the farmers market, chatting with the friendly vendors and picking up homemade bandanas and dog treats. I especially enjoyed eating those yummy treats! My momma said watching her niece dance the role of the Fairy Godmother in Central Oregon School of Ballet’s performance of Cinderella, also sparked joy for her. Take that next step, to do what feels like joy to you.

Share it

Keep it going. Share the moments that make you happiest. Share in person, on the mountain, at the dinner table, in the halls and online.

Doing more of what feels like joy can have a lasting impact, both on yourself and those around you. Isn’t it better to be focused on that which has a positive effect, than on those things that do not? Try it! I believe there’s a snowball effect. As you experience joy and are willing to share that joy, you will have a positive impact on the people around you. They, in turn, experience joy and will impact others, and so on… Sharing your joy with others is contagious. I can see first hand how the joy shared in Bend is spreading to those who are visiting!

The feeling of community is strong in Bend, and there is an openness to welcome out-of-towners. We thought it was like a breath of fresh air to find a place so warm and inviting. My momma fell in love with Bend, really with the people of Bend, last weekend. I know having all of those dogs there couldn’t have hurt either! How might your life be different if you incorporated The Bend Joy Project in your own home? How about in your community? For this pooch and my family, joy permeated the air in Bend. I’d say their project is working.

Come walk with me, if you’d like.