Moments of Joy, Moments of Sorrow: The World in Balance

It amazes me how quickly moments of our life can change, bouncing us through a second of pure joy only to have us stop at a minute of total sadness, then we twirl back into the giddiness of the journey, only to be swallowed by the inevitability of the end.

I’ve been on a journey like that for a while now.

As some of you may know by now, I’m writing a book. Over the past week or so, the story has taken on a life of its own allowing me to pour thousands of words onto the page in an incredible rush of creative power. I’ve met characters I never expected to meet. Plots and subplots have become entwined in a tale that, I believe, only partially comes from me. I have become the conduit of the unseen world of creative energy to tell a story that wants to be told.

An old creation of mine, as I learned to connect with the pool of creative energy.

An old creation of mine, as I learned to connect with the pool of creative energy.

This is exciting and energizing, but can also be terrifying and demoralizing. On a good day, I find myself writing without the knowledge of time passing. I end with a feeling of exhaustion mixed with awe and joy. Some days, however, the writing becomes a torturous journey through badly written sentences, ideas that hit brick walls, or the worst feeling of having no clue what happens next.

The change can happen in an instant.

The writing isn’t the only thing taking me on this fast-paced emotional roller coaster ride. Life in general has a way of doing that.

A few posts back I announced that I put myself out there and applied for a directing gig at a nearby university. I felt good after the interview, but knew then it would just come down to whomever those students wanted to work with, and had very little to do with my talent or ability as a director.

I didn’t get the job.  I figured I hadn’t when I didn’t get word from them last Monday, so once I received the actual rejection I’d protected my heart from total crushing, but it still hurts.

I buried myself in writing instead.

Other things, though, have crept in to make sure my joy is balanced by sorrow.

The other day, Christine Grote, a talented writer whose shared her story of her sister and her family with beautiful, powerful words, posted “A Love Story” a poignant tribute to her father who has Alzheimer’s and her mother who was recently diagnosed with cancer, and their life-long love. Reading that, brought the reality of what is happening to my parents into sharp focus. Our situations differ, slightly, but I’m still losing my Dad to Alzheimer’s and watching my mother have to learn to let him go.

Yesterday, I mourned. I struggled with the emotions I haven’t shared with anyone about what’s happening. I feel guilt. I feel sorrow. I feel anger. I feel it all.

So I write.

Yesterday, Stuart Nager, who has been going through his own struggles lately and whose passions in life are similar to mine, posted this lovely post, called “Rededidication, First Light, First Night”. In it he describes the joys of a Chanukah celebration, despite the sorrows he’s faced over the past year.

I have been lighting candles this year with a mixture of joy and sadness. I always cherish the flicker of the Chanukah candles, but this year they sing to me of loss and sadness. I miss the days of my childhood menorahs, one of which you can see in this lovely post of my brothers called “Tradition . . . tradition”. One of the family menorahs played Ma’otzur from a music box. I hold that sound in my heart, and sang it after we lit our own candles last night.

Tori’s “Tiny Spark” series, though, has reminded me that sorrow doesn’t last and we can, indeed find beauty and joy despite the pain. Read today’s contribution “A Helpful Heart”, written by the fabulous Jamie Shea  from The Life of Jamie. I read it this morning, and realized the wonder and kindness that does exist in our world, even if sometimes it feels like its hard to find.

Life can’t be all joy. Life can’t be all sorrow. Life is living from moment to moment in this whirlwind of chaotic emotion, some good some bad. All we can do, is hold on for the ride and never give up.

 

Joyful, Joyful! Living a Life Full of Moments

I admit I love watching flash mobs. Some of them are lame, but sometimes they touch something in me that makes me want to run out and sing and dance to express the pure joy of existence.  It’s the combination of music and/or dance, with the look of surprise on the faces of the observers that makes me think “That’s what it’s all about!”

I love being surprised by art and beauty when I least expect it. There is something about those expressions that take me out of myself for one brief moment, and recognize the magic that exists all around us.

Art found in Seattle.

There is nothing better than walking through a crafty little store and finding a little drawing with a quote or a snippet of poetry that speaks to your heart. If I could buy ever whimsical craft that calls to me, my house would an eclectic mix of inspiration and kitsch, but everyone walking in would find something to look at which makes them smile.

 Music, song, poetry, dance, art, laughter, words, friendship . . . these are the things that fill life with the moments worth living.

It’s too easy at time, to lose those moments, and get swallowed up by the cares and worries that obscure the spontaneity and the beauty But when that happens, its even more crucial to take time to:

Dance in the waves.

Eat ice cream in the sun.

Or simply sit and relax with someone you love.

I need to remind myself of this more often, and focus on the wonderful moments that make life worthwhile. Either that or I need to start having spontaneous flash mobs or turn my life into a musical by singing and dancing through the day.

Cosmic Dance

This post comes from the inspiration of three different women, which just shows the power and complexity of this magnificent world I call the “Blogosphere”.  Today, Darla at She’s a Maineiac wrote the lovely poem called “Radiance at Last” in response to a challenge made by Val Erde who provided inspiration in the form of this  magnificent painting by her

Painting by Val Erde at Absurd Old Bird

A few days ago, Priya at Partial View wrote “Dismissed too Soon”a magnificent post that incorporates photography and poetry to explore issues of life and death. She used the form of etheree, which she also explains:

An etheree comprises of 10 lines. It begins with a one syllable line, increasing one syllable per line until the last line of ten syllables. The syllable count of the entire poem is 55. The syllabic structure, therefore, is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, and is unmetered and unrhymed.

Since I seem to be dipping into the creative energy pool of the universe, I thought I’d make an attempt at an etheree based off of this painting.  Here I go:

 

Dance
Color
Twirls of joy
Celebration
Of passion filled life.
Cosmic forces singing
Creating a song of truth
Heard by those who feel the power
of life, of energy, of love and
the cosmic swirl of colors in the dance!


Images of Joy

Thanks to my brother, I got a little reminder of the joy found in childhood.  Sarah and I have been having a rough time lately, so I thought I would remind myself of the joy found in her. I am stealing some of the images he has taken of my daughter (plus adding a few of my own) to celebrate this joy.

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Juxtaposition of J’s

seems to be an important letter in my life. It stands for so many things that have made me who I am today. Because of this juxtaposition of J’s, I am listing some of the important ones here, along with links to some older posts that help explain the significance. I don’t ask that you read all of them, but if you are interested in something specific please visit these posts.

Japan: The country that changed my world by making it a little wider. In that land I learned to love. I learned to live. I embraced challenges. I survived difference. I learned a language. I learned darkness. I learned flexibility. I learned about my own prejudices. And I truly lived.

Judaism: the religion I was raised in, the culture I claim, and the traditions I follow (usually). I am no longer a religious Jew. I’m not sure what I believe. But Judaism still plays a role in my belief system–in the idea that we should do good in this life simply because it is the right thing to do. Also, as a Jew, I learned about prejudice and hate and the craziness of disliking someone for being different.


Journeys: My life has been an interesting journey and I still have a road to travel.

Photo by Steve Kramer

Jesus: Wait, you are thinking, how could Jesus play a role in my life when I am a Jew? Because much of the world is guided by Jesus. I am sure that, whether or not he was the son of God, he would be crying real tears at what has been done in his name. I have been told I will go to hell for not believing in him, but I wonder what he would really say to that.


Justice: Every day I see the injustice of this world, and I try to change that even in a small way.


 

Jealousy: One of my biggest flaws, and the one I struggle with on a regular basis, is feeling jealous of others. I often envy the success of people I know, because I struggle to see the success of my own life. I am working hard to overcome jealousy and to find joy in the happiness and success of others at all times.


 

Joy: I may not always see it, but I relish the moments, the people, and the experiences that bring joy into this world.


Jasper: My dog. He has cost us a lot of money. He escapes whenever he can. He steals toys and makes messes. And yet, he looks at me with loving eyes and tries to give me hugs, all with the true Joy a dog can bring. How can I not love him.

He's not smart, but he sure is cute.

As I was looking for a picture of Jasper I found a picture of my other dog, Lizzy, who was my first baby. I include it here (despite her name beginning with L) because I believe it will bring you some JOY.

"Look, I'm sitting pretty. Now you have to give me a treat."

There you have it folks! A true juxtaposition of J’s.

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