There is a lot going on in this big world of ours, and sometimes it might feel shallow amongst the devastation caused by natural disasters to talk about this but todays post is about Joy
Sometimes we discover that the most poverty stricken, the poorest, the people who would appear to have materially nothing, are those that lead the simplest, are the happiest, are the most spiritually fulfilled and have the best quality of life. I am not talking about starvation or war at this point, but rather talking about a simpler, slower more mindful way of living.
We obsess about our appearance, our status, material wealth and property, but none of this makes us happy. Rather it makes us feel dissatisfied, inferior and craving for something more that we cannot always put our fingers on.
This ‘thing’ is often about the sense of having some ‘meaning’. Having a meaning to your life, to your day, to your moment, to your second. The meaning could be as simple as the need to breath, or the child you love, or opening your eyes to the beauty around.
It is rarely situated within ourselves but often outside of ourselves.
This is more likely to bring purpose, joy and happiness into our lives.
Many years ago I found myself homeless for a year with a young baby. It was a dark and totally unexpected period of my life that I don’t generally dwell upon. I found myself sleeping on floors and overstaying my welcome because I had no other choice at the time. I didn’t examine or analyse my situation too much because that would have been disabling. I didn’t have the time to dwell upon what had come about so what I had to do was live in the moment, think outside of myself, work hard, and focus on the welfare of my child, and our future life together. I looked forward and beyond the situation. I was lucky too, and I learnt a lot from it. It taught me never to judge people by appearance and never to assume anything. I also learnt that personally I could survive things and the experience made me stronger and more determined.
So what has this got to do with photography?
Well for me a lot!
Photography helps me live in the moment, my eyes are open to the beauty of the world, and most of all the beauty of other people. Photography gave me meaning and a sense of purpose when I was lost. It gave me joy particulary at the beginning of my journey.
When it comes to work we sometimes find certain jobs make our hearts heavy, and bring unhappiness rather than Joy. I am not talking about the jobs we have to do, those admin tasks, tidying, organizing, sifting and filtering through the daily detritus.
Even as a photographer and as my career develops I realize there are certain jobs and situations I find less joyful than others, that fill me with worry and anxiety, that sit uncomfortably with me.
So I don’t do those jobs (this excludes admin etc which I have to do! ) and instead focus on the jobs that make me feel joyful, my residentials, my mentoring, portraits and projects, and by doing this it has make me a better photographer.
I love learning and challenging myself, so I do, and I grow.
I love people and taking portraits, so I focus upon that, and think I am a better (more joyful?) photographer for it and that is what makes my business work.
My suggestion is do things because they bring you, your clients, your friends and contacts joy. I am not talking about hedonistic shenanigans; I am talking about mindfulness, joyfulness, and doing things with an open heart.
For those who are interested in the concept of ‘Meaning’ within people’s lives, do read ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl. A profound and amazing book that I read years ago, and still stays with me.
For those who are looking at embracing the concept of joy in their lives, their are many wonderful books on mindfulness, or even better, actually take the time mark, and to experience and appreciate moments in your day.
May you all have the best of weeks, of days and hours.
Below are images from my joyful bluebell minishoots.
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