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I walked along the beach today with my little dog. It was a gorgeous, if unusual, 88 degrees at the Oregon Coast today. Even the water was warm. Treasures from the sea lined the water’s edge. The beauty reached deep into me to a place where all feelings originate in the magma of my being. When some emotion or experience slices through the layers of my daily living to touch that place in me, generally there is a sense that all emotions are One, or at least are so connected as to be instantly drawn to the surface one by the other. So my marveling gratitude and joy felt walking along the beach cut a path to where loneliness and sorrow also reside and I found myself remembering how rich my life was with my husband by my side and my child running along the beach and out two dogs playfully exploring. And now we are two.


Experiences like this are dangerous, or at least used to be. They could plummet me instantaneously into despairing thoughts that darkened my path back to the surface of day to day living. It has taken many years and much trial and error, and hard work to come to a place of feeling that experience of joy unlocking the path to all emotions including painful ones without free-falling. Today, the beauty of the day pierced my heart then sliced down to the marrow of my being and I felt the fall, I felt despair and longing and aching regret as I looked again at my little dog ahead of me, walking purposefully, as if he thought, if he just walked far enough he’d find the rest of the pack. Then I began simply saying “thank you.” And I spoke to God the Universe and Everything about how grateful I was for those moments, those days on the beach with the love of my life, our child and those two amazing dogs, one of whom still very much needed someone to play with him in the surf.


This to me is joy. Joy is all of it. The beauty reminding us of the pain reminding us of the moment reminding us of the gratitude reminding us of the love. One can start anywhere in that lineup. It’s the strand of pearls. Circular. Separate and unique treasures of the human experience;  but one necklace.


Image of the new prayer flag, Joy, coming soon…