Sunday, January 11, 2015

Word for 2015: Joy

noun: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying;
a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; 
something or someone greatly valued or appreciated

verb: to feel joy; be glad; rejoice

I've enjoyed celebrating New Year's ever since I was a child. Maybe it's feeling connected in celebration with people across the globe in a way that transcends country, time zone, religion, and personality. Perhaps my dislike of fireworks (for most of my life) and large transitions subversively transmuted itself. I enjoy having definitive, objective markers to orient myself around, and a change in calendar year is an obvious and widely accepted choice.

Regardless of the reasoning, the change from one calendar year to another has been something I honor. Over the past few years, I've made the shift away from resolutions since I break them by January 2 and don't care to give myself "rules." This year, I decided to follow a practice proposed by others and choose a word for 2015 that will inform and guide me as I traverse the next twelve months of hills, valleys, and plateaus.

I had a couple mentors who mentioned that they hope my next year would be filled with joy, and the practice of choosing a word fell into my lap inbox a week later. Beginner's luck probably, but one learns to receive gifts for what they are and run with them while they're present.

So, joy. How do I express it as a very human... human? Realistically, what does joy look like as a frustrated, American twenty-something? How is it lived out in a world that is horrifying and unjust, yet astonishing and beautiful? What is joy when I'm angry, confused, hurt, and disappointed?

I don't know what this practice will look like, and I don't like what people usually say it "should" look like. Thankfully, the whole point of practice is to return; there's no perfection to be found here. But maybe joy, instead.

In the words of one of the participants, Tuba Christmas is "transcendental." It's across the US and globe, so do yourself a favor and find a concert next December.

This photo doesn't show the full majesty; I just appreciated the white socks and sneakers combo of the gentleman in aqua.

Oh, Asheville. My move did not go at all as expected, so I find myself back in Florida. How funny to practice being present and finding joy in the place I've been trying to escape since 2005. Not.

I loved seeing my Aunt Patricia in Boone, NC during my time in the mountains. We tried to get a selfie with Grandfather Mountain. The self portion of the selfie didn't exactly work, but we did get the mountain.

Sunset over Grandfather Mountain.

Tova and I seeing The Nutcracker presented by the Orlando Ballet. The performance and venue exceeded expectations, however the audience whooping was not appreciated.

The winter in Florida has been warm, and flowers are blooming. As much as I dislike the darkness and cold of winter, I miss seasons and the natural rhythm they bring.