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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Lee

Joy, Impermanence, Tenderness...

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

"He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity’s sun rise." ~ William Blake

As I sit here writing, I am mesmerized by the crisp, brilliant day unfolding outside my window. After daily rain here in the Pacific Northwest, the contrast is startling. Now that the trees have given away their leaves to bare their branches, the Columbia River is in full view with its shimmering water like diamonds sparkling in the sunlight. It takes my breath away... my fingers stop typing... my eyes drift away from the computer screen... and I am truly appreciating this moment just as it is....

.... and it feels something like joy. In this state, I am filled with gratitude for what I have now - I am nourished in my new personal habitat and creating an empowered vision for my work.

I have optimal conditions to feel wholehearted and expansive in this moment. But I also know that these conditions and feelings are part of the infinite flux. This is a core teaching in the wisdom traditions that I've studied - that everything is moving, changing, and dissolving from one thing to another. Just as this stunning day will dissolve into the sunset that reveals another kind of beauty, which will then dissolve into the darkness that is the womb of everything, revealing another day that may be tinged with melancholy, and so on. Grasping some aspect of this infinite flow as though we can freeze-frame it is like trying to hold on tightly to something that is constantly slipping through our fingers. Instead, if we relax the tight grip, we might get some relief from our tension, and even be surprised by what is revealed next.

Tenderness is the word that comes to mind as I look back on my year 2017. Even as I was nourished personally, I was also deeply touched by our collective despair - the global unrest, natural devastations, the divisiveness and the threat of terror and fear bombarding the daily news. We can perhaps take comfort in knowing that this too will change. But more importantly, we are reminded to practice our kindness and resilience, strengthening the embers of compassion and elevation around and within us already steadying us through the process.

I wish you and me the discipline to find joy in every moment. And the courage to 'kiss the joy as it flies'. And may all of us be free to soar. Joyous holiday season to you and your loved ones!

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