I used to be a lot more cynical and angry. I’ve mellowed out considerably over the years, but still, as a type A ambitious professional, I’ve never really considered myself a particularly warm or joyful person.
In fact, when a colleague a few years ago commented on how warm I am, I was rather surprised.
Society ingrains all kinds of false dichotomies into us, and one of them is success vs. joy.
Joy just isn’t part of the lexicon of what it means to be successful. It’s not even part of the corporate lexicon at all. Success is what you do at work, joy is what you do in your free time. It’s an extra, it’s a nice-to-have, but it’s frivolous and fluffy.
Joy, by its very definition, isn’t serious.
So I totally get that you might be cynical about joy, or about anything that offers the promise of joy.
Well, imagine my discomfort over the past several months as I’ve been pondering on what it is that is at the heart of what Photosanity does.
Because no matter which way I look at it, the only conclusion I can come to is that it’s about joy.
It’s the only word I can come up with to describe what it is that photographing my kids brings me, and what it is that I want to bring to others too.
But here’s the thing.
We're not talking unicorns and rainbows and flowers kind of joy, although for those that are into that, that is totally cool!
And we’re not talking about only feeling happy or positive emotions, and ridding ourselves of negative emotions - that would actually be incredibly unhealthy.
What I'm talking about is a deeper sense of joy that comes from a life lived fully, where we are present to all of our emotions and can experience a sense of connection and fulfillment even through difficult times, whether it’s a bad moment, a bad day, or a bad period in our lives.
I know that it can be hard to feel like we can find joy when there is so much pain and suffering in the world.
I know that in particular right now it can feel hard to enjoy personal happiness when there is so much cause for outrage politically - or simply from a human perspective.
But remember this:
No one gets to take away our joy.
The kind of joy I am talking about comes from within, and is entirely within our control, even when so much is not.
And joy itself is an act of resistance.
Creating a little more joy in the world, at however a small or personal level, is one way that we can help to make the world a better space, one teeny tiny step at a time.
Is it enough to change the world?
Well, I think it’s a really good start.