It Gives Me Daily…

 In Reflections

“Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.” —Robin Wall Kimmerer

Forwarded by board member Karen Cotton because of Eremos’ exploration of joy in 2023, the quote above by botanist and author Robin Wall Kimmerer has stayed with me.

Touched by Kimmerer’s reason for placing her attention on joy instead of despair: “because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift,” she reminded me of our power to choose our response to what life gives us.

Similarly, Rev. Angela Gorrell, deeply wounded by loss, feels compelled to speak about cultivating joy and the need to open to more of it to help us through the grief and dark days we will all experience.

What is a daily source of joy for you (or could be with a bit more attention)? Is it the sound of birds in the early morning, a beloved pet, a loving connection with family or friends, or something else? How can you return the gift? How can you nurture this source of joy?

May you choose joy over despair today. And like watering a treasured plant, may you return the gift to all the sources of joy in your life.

Seeing Differently

“If you see the world and yourself through a lens smudged by negativity, then you’ll find much misery. If you look outwards and inwards through lens brightened by positivity, you’ll find much to be happy and appreciative about.” ―Henrik Edberg

Permission to be Joyful

“They [women in prison] had given me the permission to be joyful while grieving, to dance and sing (off pitch) as acts of resistance to despair, to be honest, to mention every emotion. These women trained me to be prepared for joy anytime, anywhere, and not to squelch it, not to waver, but to give in to it.” ― Angela Williams Gorrell

The Meaning of Life

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
―Pablo Picasso

Thank You

If you find yourself half naked

and barefoot in the frosty grass, hearing,

again, the earth’s great, sonorous moan that says

you are the air of the now and gone, that says

all you love will turn to dust,

and will meet you there, do not

raise your fist. Do not raise

your small voice against it. And do not

take cover. Instead, curl your toes

into the grass, watch the cloud

ascending from your lips. Walk

through the garden’s dormant splendor.

Say only, thank you.

Thank you.


—Ross Gay, “Thank You” from Against Which. Copyright © 2006 by Ross Gay.

Eremos is excited to bring poet Ross Gay to our community via Zoom on Thursday evening, November 16th. Find out more about this event HERE.

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