Pure Joy

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Saturday morning my eyes opened around 3am and I stared at the ceiling. After 30 minutes of this, I slid out of the bed and onto the floor carefully trying not to wake the snoring pups. I reached for my laptop on the chair nearby and began clickity clacking out my Week in Review.

Although it could have been a number of things keeping me from sleeping, I think it was my excitement about heading back to Farm Sanctuary for their annual Hoe Down that had me wide awake. I completed my Week in Review just as my eyes got heavy so I crawled back into bed and dropped into a deep sleep until the alarm sounded.

Tim and I got the pups set up with his parents and headed south for the two-hour drive. With country tunes playing in the background, I watched the hilly green landscape and lakes out the window as we passed at highway speed.

We arrived as the first speaker, Sonia Faruqi—a former Wall Street executive turned author of Project Animal Farm—was sharing her story. Next was Susie Coston, Farm Sanctuary’s National Shelter Director, who told the stories of animals rescued from horrific “farm to table” operations this past year and shed light on the animals’ gregarious personalities. After Susie spoke it was time for lunch and the farm tour. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Cameron—a newly-rescued piglet.

Cameron was our first stop and we stayed there the majority of the time. Tim snapped about 70 photos of him and most are a pink blur as he’s constantly in motion. A storm began to roll in so we skipped the sheep and goats to get more time with the pigs and cows. It was nap time for the pigs, so after a few belly rubs on the 600lb gentle giants, we headed to the pasture in search of cows.

That’s when I spotted Merlyn (in the above photo) and was told he liked his jaw scratched. I massaged this 2klb beauty and he started to roll over onto his side like a dog. After a few more cows, we headed back to the main area to connect with a woman launching a program for the yoga and mindfulness community. She wanted photos of yoga with the animals and below are a few that Tim snapped during the shoot.

The highlight of the afternoon was hearing Allison Argo speak and show The Last Pig film’s sneak peek. It’s exquisitely shot and tells the complicated story of Bob Comis‘ internal struggle and deep connection with the pigs. After cocktail hour over vegan cheese, fruit, veggies, and wine, we decided to head back to the pups. Belle is deeply attached to Tim and was hiding in a corner all day waiting for his return. The photos lured us back hours before we’d planned.The look on my face in the top photo is pure unadulterated joy. Spending time with animals breaks me wide open in a way that nothing else can. This traces back to childhood. My beloved companions were animals—turtles, dogs, cats, newts, hamsters, fish, snakes, horned toads. Sure I like playing with dolls and trucks, but animals were my respite. And they still are.

Consider what brings you pure joy. Something that lights you up from the inside out. Have something in mind? If so, great. Do more of it. If not, think back to childhood. What did you love doing? What did you dream of doing? How did you spend your free time? Do more of it.

As we grow into adults, it’s easy to lose sight of pure joy. The focus turns to paying rent, progressing in work, buying groceries, and knocking things off our to-do lists. I get it, I’m there, too. Yet, the top photo reminds me that I’d like to spend more time in pure joy and less in the minutia. Care to join me?

Share below what brings you pure joy or what once brought you pure joy that you’d like to prioritize. May pure joy guide us to live the most authentic version of who we are so that we can offer the world our unique gifts. Bisous. x