Watering Empathetic Joy.

Water is the original reflection.

It is the pool that holds a reaction to the world around us. Lakes can sit like glass in total stillness, but they can develop unique angles and colors because water soaks in the likeness of the sky and the wind. Water ripples and reflects the world around it. Water transforms as we transform.

Tokyo National Museum of Western Art || Waterlilies, Claude Monet

The original reflection is that we all want to know and to see what is happening right here. We want to see ourselves from the other side.

What am I like? What is really happening right here?

I believe if we can find qualities in ourselves we can find them in others, and if we see others living we know that life is possible. Perhaps the original reflection is something even deeper than water.

Empathetic Joy

Genuine happiness here is directly connected to genuine happiness there.

When we feel connected to the world, we sense that we are sharing life experiences with others. When we do not feel connected to the world we feel like we are missing out on something.

Tokyo National Museum of Western Art|| Poetry, Raphael Collin

My friend just got a major promotion with a radio station she has worked on for years and years. She is now a permanent co-host on air! (AMAZING NEWS!) She’s really earned it, and I genuinely want her to win. I feel I am there with her from all the way over here having this experience. This is empathetic joy.

Finding more room in our hearts for others allows us to thrive when they thrive because when we are able to feel all of this genuine love and joy, we are feeding ourselves at the highest level. We cut our pain in half just by being there with someone else while they go through it all.

Sharon Salzberg says that allowing ourselves to feel our pain will make it seem less personal. It will allow us to realize that our pain is actually, at a deeper level, “the pain inherent in human existence.” It is the shared experience of pain and the shared goal of finding joy as humans that links us all together.

Image via @elephant journal

BUT…When we are disconnected from the world, we envy the joy of others. We feel that we have been cheated out of getting ours. We feel that since someone else has found joy we are only further away from finding it. Why did I not get a promotion? What about me?

Feeling disconnected means we cannot find space in our hearts for others. We cut off identifying with others which means we cut off a major sense of purpose and belongingness here. This is a lonely place to be. This is a wasteland and a half-hearted way to carry ourselves through this life. It is not enough to just survive here, we deserve to live fully here and there. It has to be both.

Odaiba, Tokyo || photo by @michaelcello

Finding and cultivating empathetic joy is a gift of sobriety because I am no longer hiding behind anything. Realizing that I am unique and still garden variety is a beautiful thing, and I can find a place in my heart where I can be there for others.

Lighten Up

Lighten up

To sight and smell

Lighten up to sound

Art can be playful like this.

The idea of lightening up when there are super serious things happening all around sounds pretty crazy, but if we pause for moment, it might actually start making sense. So where did we start taking things so seriously? Did it happen somewhere along the timeline of realizing that we are capable of getting hurt? Probably.

There are plenty of things to take seriously in this life, but in order to let other people in and find out that we are the same, we have to stop seeing everything as a life and death situation.

It can be scary to let our guard down after a lifetime of disappointment and betrayal. I know what this feels like. The truth is that we might get hurt, but we already know all about getting hurt! We are still here despite everything. We are still here carrying on through all of the hurt, living our best lives. Obviously, getting hurt is really not the worst thing that can happen to us. We seem to be moving through this, so why not laugh a little bit and open ourselves up to the fact that we are all the same. Once we realize that it might not be so damaging, we can trust again. We can find empathetic joy. We can water our compassion into finding a connection to others.

I think we deserve to lighten up.

This is the even flow.

It takes practice. ❤

Art Museum Day

Today we went to the National Museum of Western Art for the impressive Rodin collection. No rushing to any favorite parts. I strolled and enjoyed it.

We held hands from far away like some married couples know how to do very well. He gave me space to stroll through each gallery with audio tours holding a little cassette tape. Sometimes we get more time together while being apart.

It was another amazing museum date.

I am so grateful for the patience to let myself catch up with the moment and just be with visual art again. It connects to everything. It is more than water.

Everything is a mirror these days, and I will understand what this means a million times in a million different ways. I hope I do anyways because this is the river. This is water moving, finding stillness, and flowing through it. This is going lightly in the original reflection. This is peace and joy at their finest. This is living. ❤

For more on the sobriety journey, follow The OAM on Instagram @the_oam, and check out The OAM facebook page.

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