Many thanks Caro.

As an enthusiastic person, I say aye to joy.

Seems a little easier in one's skin as years go by, which maybe lets the joy shine through. I also find the tai chi helps with sincerity.

I work with people who are struggling and suffering in the Burma warzone, but often joyful. Inspiring resilience.

Good point about accents: seems west country teasing is one of the last zones of "permissble prejudice".

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Conversational joy is the great swag-bag of the word-horde wielder, full of incomparable brooches and rings, treasure which passes back and forth between me and my correspondents before settling in their stash or mine, or even better, in both.

Sublime, Caroline. Joy as ballast. Your words are a treasure in this digital space. I have found them and they inspire me to create as well. I may have found my Spruce Tree Hag. The banner is, indeed, love.

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As a proudly sensitive soul that has enabled me to sense and see far beyond the seen world, this sensitivity never has diminished my inherent strength and resiliency, only fortified it. In my circles, it’s a profound compliment and acknowledgement of gifts, to be called a sensitive soul. It is not the opposite of strong, and it is something many are clearly intimidated by (mostly men), and curious about (sometimes more evolved men). I feel divine feminine strength is marked by intense and wondrous sensitivity.

May your joy cup runneth over! My crone mothers of tree and stone are plentiful too - and, though their guidance has challenged me time and time again, I’d much rather leave the forest bruised and exhausted, content beyond belief (and shedding the joy tears), emptied of all that is false within, than leave on a false/oddly bypassed, ‘safe’ high.

Thanks as ever for this sharing - as a lifelong sailor, maritime analogies will always be my favorite 💙

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Oh what sincere joy you describe Caro! It’s a state that has accompanied me through this life, with just a few little vanishing tricks around the grand hormonal and health challenges of adolescence and menopause. I can look back on both now with joy for those necessary transitions of life, with their storms and tornados of overwhelming energy alongside the stagnant sloughs of despond.

I’m also a profoundly sensitive soul who has always accessed the unseen world, made much easier once I had an understanding of the odd and strangely visceral experiences of the inner senses, especially from a Taoist perspective. The joy of being a part-time warrior, especially in that world but also when needed in the everyday realm, has been a wonderfully balancing experience. Indeed the label ‘sensitive’ is often misunderstood, I agree with Heather on that, we are not snowflakes!

My main teacher of qigong, taiji and Taoist meditation, a profoundly martial man, describes his own teacher as having become a Taoist Immortal whilst still alive on Earth. His most memorable words, for me anyway, were that this slight and elderly Master lived in a permanent state of ‘steady and even joy.’ I have met with his spirit on many occasions and yes, as I perceive it in those moments of communion, that ‘steady and even joy’ pervades the vastness of the universe. It is just there. It feels like bathing in all the layers of the most sublime and timeless ocean of subtle joy, whilst staying completely aware and present to all the changing states of energy flowing through and around.

The complete yin surrender needed to get there seems elusive to most and I’ve also found that emanating too much of that steadfast and steady joy and enthusiasm irritates a fair few of the men around me, so I still cloak it much of the time. It generally reveals and shared itself more naturally amongst the sisterhood. Just as you describe happening at the pigment workshop. It just needs the teacher to be a catalyst and out it comes. How wonderful! Thank you for sharing so much.

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As someone who has often been told she is too much of a muchness, I am learning to keep some of the joy spillover to myself— even as there is, it seems, a mere nettle thread between contagious enthusiasm and exuberance overload (Valdera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…). So I thank you kindly for lauding the joys in all their forms. Land joy in particular.

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Excellent piece.

Rebecca Solnit, in Orwell's Roses, talks about how steady-state happiness costs, but joy (in Nature, especially) is free. (Orwell, admiring toads and goats and roses.)

She says “What is it that makes it possible to do the work that is of highest value to others and one’s central purpose in life? It may appear— to others, sometimes even to oneself— trivial, irrelevant, indulgent, pointless, distracted, or any of those other pejoratives with which the quantifiable beats down the unquantifiable.”

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Caroline, we obviously had a similar exposure to Christian music in our youth. While reading about "The banner over us is love", I remembered "The joy of the Lord is my strength." The words seem appropriate here. Strength can be sustaining; it can also be motivating and even oppositional, forcing us to change direction. Thanks for a beautiful read.

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Oct 15, 2023Liked by Caroline Ross

This is a magnificent piece of writing my friend, and one I dearly needed to read right now. That is such good news that you will be working with Rima too! I wish so much I could attend that course.

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