Following Joy

posted in: Photography, Your best life | 1

Quote of the day: “My child was already very real to me, very bonded… Then he was diagnosed with Down syndrome…I was told that his life was worthless and meaningless and really shouldn’t happen…I began to wonder What is the purpose of a human life? What makes is OK to bring a human life into the world?…I decided the experience of joy is it’s own excuse for being…And that if my son could have a tremendous amount of joy in his life, then it was worth living even if he never went to Harvard. So I did not terminate the pregnancy and I have had this little Zen master ever since.” — Martha Beck

_MG_1851Joy is its own excuse for being!

I’ve begun playing with the idea of resting in the experience of joy, even when there are no tangible results. It is an exercise in doing what I love only because I love it—with no expectations or goals.

This is a new endeavor for me and I’m still pretty shaky at it. It goes along with something I was told earlier this year:

You do not need to justify your existence.

And a message from Liv Lane at a Spark Sisters workshop:

Joy is productive, even when the results aren’t tangible or easily measurable. You need not have anything to show for it. Do what you love only because you love it.

The idea that I can rest in a place with no specific outcomes, no goals, nothing to point to as an accomplishment goes against the grain for me in a big way.

Yet, it is what I feel I am called to do.

To learn to follow joy

I need to practice mindfulness and listen to my body to really learn to follow joy. If I use my mind, I’m usually misled. But my body knows what my mind does not.

As a result, I am postponing (and possibly cancelling) most class and workshop plans for late summer and fall in order to spend more time making photographs.

I don’t know where this practice will lead me or how successful I’ll be in letting go of goals and accomplishments.

I just know that it is what I need to do. Stay tuned as I learn more about this path of following joy.

Here are some recent photos that bring me joy. I hope they brighten your day too.

May you walk in beauty.

_MG_1866_MG_1848_MG_1874_MG_1880_MG_1803_MG_1852_MG_1637_MG_1681

“My child was already very real to me, very bonded. I’d been feeling him kick for months. It was not early in the pregnancy. Then he was diagnosed with Down syndrome.”

The people who had been her mentors, her teachers and leaders, told her she shouldn’t have the baby. “I was told that his life was worthless and meaningless and really shouldn’t happen. And the people who told me that meant well, but suddenly I began to wonder,What is the purpose of a human life? What makes it OK to bring a human life into the world? And I realized that a lot of the people who were telling me that this baby could never be happy, were not happy.

“I didn’t know anyone with Down syndrome, but I had heard they could be happy people. And well, in that case, what is the justification for being? I decided the experience of joy is its own excuse for being. And that if I could have none of that in my life, it wouldn’t be worth living. And that if my son could have a tremendous amount of joy in his life, then it was worth living even if he never went to Harvard. So I did not terminate the pregnancy, and I have had this little Zen master ever since.

“Go straight for the joy,” she says.

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/go-straight-for-the-joy-and-follow-your-purpose#sthash.tmhaD9OQ.dpuf

“My child was already very real to me, very bonded. I’d been feeling him kick for months. It was not early in the pregnancy. Then he was diagnosed with Down syndrome.”

The people who had been her mentors, her teachers and leaders, told her she shouldn’t have the baby. “I was told that his life was worthless and meaningless and really shouldn’t happen. And the people who told me that meant well, but suddenly I began to wonder,What is the purpose of a human life? What makes it OK to bring a human life into the world? And I realized that a lot of the people who were telling me that this baby could never be happy, were not happy.

“I didn’t know anyone with Down syndrome, but I had heard they could be happy people. And well, in that case, what is the justification for being? I decided the experience of joy is its own excuse for being. And that if I could have none of that in my life, it wouldn’t be worth living. And that if my son could have a tremendous amount of joy in his life, then it was worth living even if he never went to Harvard. So I did not terminate the pregnancy, and I have had this little Zen master ever since.

“Go straight for the joy,” she says.

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/go-straight-for-the-joy-and-follow-your-purpose#sthash.tmhaD9OQ.dpuf

“So what brings you positive, joyful and liberating sensations emotionally—and physically, actually—that’s going to be closer to your purpose. And anything that makes you feel shut down, constricted, weighed down, physically weak—that’s going to be a step away from your purpose. And life is just a game of, you’re getting warmer, you’re getting colder. If you take a step with every decision toward what makes you feel most free, you’ll end up at your purpose very quickly.” – See more at: http://www.success.com/article/go-straight-for-the-joy-and-follow-your-purpose#sthash.tmhaD9OQ.dpuf

  1. Laura Bradshaw

    Wow, “you don’t have to justify your existence”? Where did you hear that, Marily? I need to hear that. I’m constantly nagging myself to do that and with what I “should” do.

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