i opened my eyes (my heart) and took this photo . lake superior, april 2012
My daughter is discovering ways to move sand with rocks and sticks as she plays with her grandparents along the shore of Lake Superior. I stand at the water a few feet away, eyes closed, stomach and heart holding a few heavy pieces of this life. I listen to their laughter, the lapping water, and then for just a moment I hear only my breathing.
I take a few deep breaths right here, feeling my feet beneath me, the sun warming my body, and the wind gently holding me. I focus on the space I create with each breath. Space inside me. Space around my heart. And with an exhale, I let pieces of what I do not need to carry slip out of me and sink into the earth.
Seeking a tactile reminder of this moment, I open my eyes and take a photo of a woman standing in the quiet joy that is creating space to move out of her head and back into her heart.
Slowing down and noticing my breathing is one of my access points to joy. When I quiet the chatter in my head by sinking into the moment, I am gently pushed to see the beauty of simply being here. I notice the world around me, and my senses so often guide me to joy. And when I open up to joy, I feel myself mending and shedding the pieces inside me that no longer serve.
But it is a practice, this seeking joy stuff. It is something I have to cultivate and create space for. Coming to the page and writing about the moments where I find it (and documenting those moments through photos) help to remind me to listen to what I know and to keep on practicing.
This week, Jennifer Louden, Marianne Elliott, and Susannah Conway have invited a few people to share some thoughts on creative joy. (Thank you ladies for asking me to play along as I love this topic!) The three of them are hosting a retreat on this juicy theme in June with workshops in writing, yoga, and photography. (Retreats about joy are a very very good thing!) Find out more about it here. And if you tweet, check out the #creativejoy hashtag this week.