今天早上我有一场演讲,其中有相当一部分是关于自我同情的重要性。The audience was a group of activists, and I’d been asked to speak aboutThe Lightmaker’s Manifestoand the intersection of joy and activism, but let’s be real: activism is a tough thing, man, and joy can feel a long way from it. After all, we don’t get into activism because things are goingwell. We get into activism because we’re angry or our hearts are broken. For activists, the idea of joy and activism actually intersecting can feel completely counter-intuitive.

“But itispossible,” I argued — because, after all, it’s the premise of my book — and I talked about how the way to joy in activism, in part, is by cultivating practices: practices of connection, and gratitude, and celebration and yes, self-compassion. I think by the end of my talk, I convinced them. At least, I hope so. And in truth, it’s not just activism: in life, joy doesn’t just show up. Joy requires someintention.

If you’re a long-time follower of Chookooloonks, you know that photography has historically been a huge part of my self-compassion practice. Indeed, for me, photography has always been aspiritualpractice. There’s something about being intentional in looking for something beautiful, slowing down, and then adjusting my camera to capture exactly what it is I see in its beauty that feels uniquely meditative. For many years, I would shoot at least three times a week; for a while, I was shooting daily. But then, afterHurricane Harvey, I fell out of practice. I just couldn’t seem to muster up the energy to get my camera out.

But that’s why I’m returning to the blog, right? The slowing down, the meditation, the forcing myself to look for beauty. The making myself see that a solitary azalea has bloomed, and then photographing it. The processing of the photograph, and the publishing of it. For no other reason than to say, “I saw this today. I wanted you to see it, too.” Because I’m learning that in this world that insists on breakneck speed, sometimes slow is where it’s at.