"let a joy keep you. reach out your hands and grab it when it runs by." ~carl sandburg
i have not been well lately, and i don't mean physically. i have felt burnt out, scooped out, empty. a shell of a woman, as i told winn melodramatically.
when i went on my annual january retreat a couple of weeks ago, i was ambitiously hoping i'd come back all better. didn't happen. but i did get to rest, to read, to stare catatonically at the wall, and that was lovely. and i got my word for the year. (i don't do resolutions, but i do like a theme or a hope for a new year).
i was hovering in between sleep and wakefulness the first morning i was at richmond hill (sleeping in--oh, bliss!), and this word materialized out of nowhere: play. not at all the direction i was heading, which made me trust it even more since it so clearly did not come from me, yet seemed to fit just so.
i'm not good at playing. i'm good at slogging through the muck of life, feeling pain and grief and dissonance and longing and loneliness. i'm good at being intense and serious. i'm good at being hard on myself. not so good at playing.
so you can see how i might need to devote some time to learning the art and discipline of play. part of what this means for me is letting go of the unnecessary "shoulds" in my life. simplifying. i've been doing some of that, and i feel lighter already.
another part of playing, for me, means paying attention and giving myself over to the things that bring me joy, that nourish me, make me laugh, make me wonder, move me in some way. so, i'm going to make use of this space for paying attention to beauty and life and love. every now and again, i'll post a picture of something or someone, a quotation, a word, an idea--little or big, ordinary or not so ordinary--things that i find delightful. this address on the world wide web will be a holding place, a kind of treasure box and photo album, so that i can ponder these things and hold them in my lil' heart.
all that being said, here's my first picture of something that i love:
this vintage-y tin mirror (which i clearly should have cleaned before taking a picture of, but now am too lazy to get out a paper towel and some windex, clean it, take another picture, upload it again, etc. i mean, who has the time or energy? see how i'm letting go of those crazy "shoulds"? ) i got from my favorite store downtown, o' suzannah. it just makes me so happy.
i looked at it longingly, wistfully for the better part of the past year, but the price tag on it said $79. yikes. but one magical day in mid-december, i strolled into o' suzannah, and this little gem was on the sale table, drastically reduced to a mere $29. naturally i snatched it right up. i took it to the front counter to pay before anyone else could get their grubby paws on it, and erin (probably the cutest shop girl in the world) told me that suzannah (the owner of course) had marked it down just moments before.
if that's not a christmas miracle, i don't know what is.