cobbling happiness

It’s been a rough week. The sort that pulls you over emotional gravel on your belly. Two death anniversaries (my husband/pappa to Numbers One and Two, and my dad) with another looming, each to cancer. The resurgence of bastardly vertigo with a chaser of hammering migraine and another of nausea (“Which came first? ” asks the specialist. “Dunno” says I. “Chicken and eggs are your job.”). Achingly sad news from my recently diagnosed friend (Damn you, cancer! How many more in how many years?). Nursing a sadness that clings to the bottom of the belly, rising to heart level, catching in the throat and spilling over when it can no longer—must no longer—be contained. Chasing light as it slips away on bleak, grey days. I’m not sure Eliot had it right. It seems November is the cruellest month.

I’m reminded, though, of something Deepak Chopra wrote about sadness (careful to distinguish if from depression):

Passively accepting your sadness is the same as forgetting to build your own happiness.

And so I move slowly through the fog carrying the weight of heart-burdens and fear, knowing that I must lay them down when I can. Knowing too that I’m still able to cobble happiness from the smallest pieces of the day: noticing the fragile imprint of a leaf etched on the sidewalk; the rush of fragrance and on-coming warmth from a cup of tea sipped under the covers. It’s always the first sip; observing the spider-like delicacy of bare branches that extend above roof tops, waiting for the first dusting of snow; communing at the table with my children, sharing the simplest food made from scratch, receiving their thanks; hearing a friend’s voice over the telephone, a bridge connecting distance and loneliness, “I hold your heart in my heart”; uncapping a new pen, the black ink flowing against paper, shapes emerging to chart the aching of the soul, the longing of the heart; the scent of peppermint castile soap floating on the steam as I sink further into the tub, a book resting on the islands that are my knees; sharing pizza with my Number Four, as we watch Where The Wild Things Are. Laughter mixed with our sobs and “Oh, Mummy. I know.”

And, as always, images that re-connect me to feeling, passion and awareness. Images that wrestle me from the grip of sadness and propel me gently into a state of motion, well-being and gratitude.

Anna Ådén’s photos hold just that power …

photos by: Anna Ådén