Sacred Joy [The Twelve Days of #QUEST2015 Day 7]


joy, #quest2015


How could you make moments of joy a sacred priority in 2015?
What forms will such moments take?

The seventh prompt for reflection in Quest 2015 comes from Sunni Brown. In addition to the prompt, she encouraged us to doodle, draw, photograph, or write into these questions.

The word sacred tripped me up immediately. One of my current journeys is trying to find secular language for natural human experiences that traditionally inspire religions interpretations. In my lifelong quest for understanding of my so-called spiritual experiences, I have spent many years working with interpretations of religious language that are expansive enough to include my experience as someone who is uncomfortable with any interpretation of these experiences that cannot be verified empirically. And, I am tired of it. I want language that doesn’t require me to translate it internally for my comfort.

That said, one definition of sacred is that which is entitled to reverence and respect. Reverence is a deep form of respect, one that reaches towards devotion and honour.

So, in secular language, the prompt is How could you make moments of joy a priority and show them honour and respect?

And this is a question I know how to answer.

I can make moments of joy a priority by actively looking for them, noticing them, and savouring them. I can follow my body wisdom toward activities that tend to trigger joy.

I can show them honour and respect by not rushing them, by allowing them to take space and time in my life for as long as possible. In some cases, I will be able to honour them by documenting them – taking a photograph or writing a poem. In others, sharing them with others, pointing out a joy trigger to someone nearby, will be appropriate.

I did respond to the invitation to doodle, draw, or photograph into these questions as opposed to my more traditional writing. But, with a slight twist. I used playful digital photo manipulation as my entry point into today’s prompt.

Those who have been following my Quest 2015 posts may have noticed a pattern to the images at the top of my posts in this series. They are all variations on the same image. I knew I wanted to link the posts together visually when I started the series, so I found a background image and started working.

Image from GraphicStock

The background image


I cropped to a square I like, and then generated 18 colour variations using the tools at PicMonkey. I added the hashtag #quest2015 and a border, then waited for the prompts to be revealed. Each time a prompt is revealed, I select a ready to use image, add the prompt title, and put it in my post.

I played with some options that I chose didn't fit with the style I was going for.

I played with some options that didn’t fit with the style I was going for.


When I made the pink and yellow variation, I liked it, but wasn’t sure I would use it because it seemed very different from the others I had chosen. However, it struck me as perfect for this prompt, so I used it.

The Blank Canvas

But, it was missing something. So, I played around in PicMonkey, adding stickers and effects, deleting them, trying new effects, and finally settling on adding stars. After some playing around, I had added 5 star effects to the picture and created an image I liked – the one at the top of this page.

And, in playing with the images, I unlocked my resistance to the prompt and was able to dive in and write.

Sunni Brown is leader of The Doodle Revolution – a global campaign for visual literacy and also the name of her new book. Sunni is also the author of Gamestorming, named one of Amazon’s Top 100 Business Books, which lays out visual thinking techniques for business. Sunni’s common sense, wit, and pragmatic applications of neuroscience have led her to consult with Disney, Sharpie, Zappos, and elsewhere. Her TED Talk “Doolders Unite!” has been viewed over 1 million times, and Fast Company named Sunni one of the Top 100 Most Creative People in Business.

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