Simple Balanced Joy

“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terror, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.” ― Anaïs Nin

Today is darkness. Here in Detroit only 9 hours of daylight will shine today on this shortest day of the year. I am sitting at my desk with the curtains wide open to let a weak hazy sunlight fill my little office. I need to embrace it now and let it fill me up for the long months ahead.

Winter is a time when I need to be conscious of cultivating joy, or else I will slide quietly and with ease into bleak flatness. My brain and body chemistry is wired for depression. I inherited this from the generations before me, many of whom depression became bigger than them and tragically shorten their lives.

I used to feel like it was a personal failure when depression draped over my mind and body weighing me down and impeding my path. Today I accept this is part of my make up, just like having brown hair and fair skin. It just is. And it is my responsibility to take care of myself to keep depression from over taking my life.

Today I know the tools that will cultivate joy and help me take care of myself. I need sunlight, I need fresh air, I need to move my body and I need to eat healthy balanced food. I also need darkness to pause, reflect and simply not do. I need to create to hear my heart, whether that be writing, taking photographs or cooking. I need connection with others to help me know I am not alone and to celebrate their victories, large and small. I need to sit on my meditation cushion and watch my breath, note my thoughts to know everything passes—everything is impermanent.

While not perhaps not ground breaking or new, practiced with gentle loving kindness, these tools create simple balanced joy.

And now my favorite part of Sunday morning, sharing my weekly Inspiration to Open Your Heart. Here is a collection of blog posts, articles, essays and other content I found this week that I wanted to share with you.

Empty by Tia Jensen- This nonfiction piece is lyrical and precise. Beautifully written and heartbreaking but not in an apologetic way. This is good reading.

Grief, Holidays, Things Not to Say by Laura S. Packer- Grief is a powerful force that feeds off of sights, sounds, smells to trigger memories of loss. Laura’s writing about grief is honest and spot on. If you are grappling with grief, or have, I recommend reading her blog. If you have friends or family who are grieving this holiday season, please read this, I promise it will help.

Curvy Girl: I Know What It Is Like by Bella Cirovic-  I love this beyond measure. So much searing truth, vulnerability and beauty. The photos are gorgeous. I could relate to so much of what Bella wrote, I feel my heart opening as I read this blog post.

Why We Need the Winter Solstice by Clark Strand- I never thought of how we use light to propel us towards productivity. A very interesting essay about the history of light and how we might need to return to embracing the natural rhythms of darkness.

Playing Big Listen In via the Shutter Sisters- Here is an interview with Tara Mohr about her new book Playing Big, which I am currently listening to on my commute, and I purchased the hard copy because it is that good. I love her practical, direct and yet gentle approach to claiming my greatness. The detailed approaches on how to work with your inner critic and your inner mentor is amazing.

Happy Solstice and may you cultivate simple balanced joy in your life this week. ~Kira

This post is a response to Kat Mcnally’s Reverb14. Click on over to join in!

Registration for Writing to Open Your Heart is Open! Starts January 31, 2015. Give yourself the gift of writing and connection to others to help open your heart in 2015.