Juju is a big deal in my world.  There is good juju, and there is bad juju.  Almost everything can be placed in one of those two categories.  People who are rude, selfish, or just generally suck at being human: bad juju.  People who make your day seem brighter, the jokes seem funnier, the food taste better: good juju.  Having the same argument with the same person and expecting to have a different outcome: bad juju.  Seeing how synchronistic the world can be when you open your eyes to it: good juju.

Yes, bad juju comes all the time.  It is the guy who pushes past and lets the door slam you against the frame as you juggle a purse that wouldn’t fit the requirements as an airline carry-on, scramble for a headcount of the other wandering kids, and a toddler flailing in your arms who “wants DOWWWWN!” It’s the time that the cashier gave you the wrong change, and you noticed but didn’t say anything.  It’s letting a friendship fade because you are SOOOO busy.  Bad juju is disheartening.  It is exhausting.  It makes you want a mulligan.  Or ten.  Bad juju is bad juju.

Good juju is everywhere, and wondrously infinite.  It is getting somewhere on time even though you woke up late.  Good juju is being asked how your day was by someone who actually wants to know.  It is the night that all of the kids eat the dinner you made without complaining.  Good juju is not knowing how you are going to pay that bill, and then someone pays you back for that loan you forgot about.   It is the first time someone says I love you and means it – and every time after that.  Good juju is comforting like a big fluffy blanket, but invigorating like a brisk run or a hot cup of coffee.  It makes you a bit of a crackhead once you get a taste of it, and recognize how easy it is to get.  It makes you want more of whatever made your breath catch or your heart a little fuller.  Good juju is good juju.

It may seem that I am creating a world that is only good or bad, black or white, one or the other.  But that’s not how juju works.  Juju is like a piece of art.  Let’s go with the black and white comparison, just for shits and giggles.  Good juju is white, just like the paper on which you are creating this masterpiece.  Initially, it’s all good juju.  But there can be no form or definition of shape if there is no black.  Bad juju creates shadows and depth.  It brings dimension to our art, proving that there is something absorbing or reflecting the light source.  It creates texture and details that would otherwise have been washed out.  One of the greatest rules I was taught about creating depth in art, is: the darkest dark is ALWAYS right next to the lightest light. This is also ALWAYS true for juju.  Sometimes juju has a different timeline than we might prefer, but I know for certain that the biggest, baddest juju will always have equally bigger and better juju.  We cannot have good juju without the bad, and vice-versa.

The most interesting thing about juju, is it is completely dependent on your perspective.  You can face the black, or you can face the white.  If you are focused on the shadows, you will never see the light.  If you are head on with the light source, the shadows don’t seem to matter much.  But they are there because they have to be in order to give you shape.  They have built you, but they do not have to be anything more than the shades that give you depth.

I want to face the light every day.  I want good juju to flow through my veins and fill my belly with its goodness.  I want so much good juju, I have to squint to discern that this is really my life.  I also want to realize that there is bad juju in the world, and there is bad juju in me because I am human.  I will get angry, I will get sad, and I will do things that I know I shouldn’t because I am very, very fallible.  And then I want to look up and breathe in the good juju that is literally all around me all the time, and I will be even more grateful for the new shadows and creases that have been sketched into my being, because it only means that I am more solid, and have more surface to gather light.

These are my stories.  Some are funny, some are harsh, some are delicious to eat…but they are all real.  And that’s good juju.

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