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Posts Tagged ‘the nature of Joy’

Joy. My heart is full of joy. Even though much of December has been a struggle. Joy is connected to giving. To the Holiday Spirit. I feel joy when I am connected to people who are close; I feel joy when I am alone, writing, doing art, sitting in silence. I live in the times between. Joy is not temporal, not limited by time or possessions or Earthly matters—like human happiness seems to be. Joy rises above the everyday slothing about. When I remember what I am grateful for, I feel joy. When I see the Downy Woodpecker at the suet feeder, I feel joy. I feel joy when I am out shoveling the driveway at 8pm, stop to stand in the snow and stillness, view the December Moon rising in the dark.

I remember a time when I was afraid to feel too much joy, or let it grow too big in my life. I was afraid of what would be left behind when it vanished. I waited for the other shoe to fall. I feel more connected to a Higher Power these days. I believe in what I cannot see. Joy lives in the invisible places. Tears that well up when I watch a sappy movie; the director’s vision, a tugboat of joy. Things no longer bring me joy. They might make me happy for an hour, a few days. But I’m not in the mood to accumulate things to fill the Void.

Driving through the snowstorm this week, I started thinking about the future. A solid Cancer/Taurus combo, I dwell mainly in the Present or the Past. The Future, it’s not here yet. I have to sit down and make myself plan. That’s where a yearly practice comes into play. Scheduling time in the studio, writing retreats, or art events. Goals, deadlines, something I can shoot for in the creative fields. What I was thinking about on my drive along snow packed roads and layers of black ice, is that if I live a full life, I may only have a good 30 years left. Then I started to panic. I have so many books I want to write, so many photographs I want to take, so much love. How will 30 years ever be enough?

The thought process continued over lettuce, ham & cheese, past the Grain Belt sign on the Northeast Gateway, and around the bend where the Mississippi River crosses the Plymouth bridge. Then it came to a screeching halt. There are no guarantees that I will live to the end of the day. I am planning for the future; I don’t know if I will even be alive. I still need to plan. But it’s not where I’m going that matters. It is where I am. The panic subsides. This morning I am too serious. Yet the Joy — she’s still there.

No matter what happens, I feel like I have already lived a full life. During one of my 10-year, single jags after art school, I started a timeline of my life. I drew a long thick line on a yellow parchment scroll, began with the year I was born, and started marking in significant life events. The scroll is rolled up on a shelf in my art studio. I want to take it out and look at where I left off. It’s been at least 7 years, maybe longer, since I added a new cairn. It’s a way that I honor my life, the fact that I have walked on the Earth. I am only a small dot on the planet, loved by a few, invisible to most. It’s easy to get lost. The visual teaches me to pay attention to what has passed; it informs the future.

Joy is a day of making art, writing a story, working on photographs, posting on red Ravine. Joy is not fleeting like happiness. It’s always there, waiting for me to recognize its face. Joy is not what numbs me. Joy is the first strawberry on the vine, the Strawberry Moon, the Winter Solstice, Summer in Minnesota. Joy is a film that moves, a tumble in the hay, a Stripeypants in the hand, a Kiev curled in a ball next to me on the couch. Joy is a loving partner, a new dream, the center of the labyrinth, along the edges, too. Joy is a handful of October leaves, tumbling down a mountain path. Joy is a Giant Moon rising over the Bitterroots, half in Shadow. Joy is Light.


-related to Topic post:  WRITING TOPIC — JOY

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Joy Is, Joy Is Not, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, December 2010, photo © 2010 by
QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


The days are dark, the nights long. Five days until Winter Solstice. Holidays draw us to friends and family, gift giving, service work. I want to go inside. Reflective heat, ambient light. Darkroom blues. I have spent hours under red safelights in black and white darkrooms. What color is Joy?

At times when there is the least light, we need to find ways to tap more joy. I look to the small things. Sunrise, Tuesday morning. Snowstorm, Friday night. Digging out. Digging deep. An old recipe. A new flame. Joy takes many forms. Clay dangling from red string. One new liver. Two hibernating black bears. Three things I am grateful for.

Some are afraid to feel the full strength of Joy. The intensity makes them fearful. What if Joy leaves in the middle of the night. How will I fill the hole.

What brings you joy?

Joy is a giant taproot of swirling lava at the center of the Earth. Joy is a burning ember in the middle of an indigo night. Behind every Black Dog, Joy sits like the mountain.

Write I feel joy at the top of your Writing Practice notebook. Or sink into the underbelly — I don’t feel joy

Joy is, Joy is not. Ten minutes, Go!


-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

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