Finding Joy

Long one ahead…

I did something today I haven’t done in 15 months.
I went for a run. A five mile run through Valley Forge Park. My old favorite running route. Granted, I walked about half the time because I’m way out of practice; but it still felt so nice to be back there and to be doing something that used to bring me joy.
It brought joy today, too.

I noticed a few things I never did before, like the way the trees in the first photo lean the same way. Like the trail marker in the second photo with the quote about liberty. I stopped to watch a hawk for a bit (hard to see, but it’s in the third photo), and paid attention to the new growth happening throughout the park along the trail. I paid attention to the other people running, the people walking dogs, the people riding bikes, the people walking together, the people walking solo.

The entire time, I had one earpiece in, listening to episodes of my favorite podcast and favorite artist. (copy link here {sorry I can’t insert it directly for some reason} - HIGHLY recommend it!! )
Somewhere in my fourth mile, I heard my name. In the podcast. She mentioned me and something I’d shared within her Artist Academy group. It was a surreal moment, and I couldn’t help smiling.

All throughout my run/walk, I found myself doing that.
At things in the podcast. At things in nature. At those who passed me.
Sometimes, life gets so busy that I forget to smile, to find & create joy, to slow down.
Sometimes, the world feels so heavy & scary that I forget to turn it off, to let it go, to break away.

I can’t fix the world, but I can keep working on myself. I can provide a glimpse of hope. I can be a light, even in the cloudiest conditions.
I can’t take pain away that others feel, but I can notice them. I can smile at them. I can recognize their humanity.
I think…
I know…this is something we all can do.
I think…
I know…this is what we must do.