Finding Your Guiding Word For 2015

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Last night I went to a workshop hosted by Carole Ann Penney and Patsy Culp. The goal was to find our guiding word for 2015. I really didn't know what to choose (I was actually having a mini panic attack thinking about it) and then I remember the word I just learned about the other day, mudita.

Muditā (Pāli and Sanskrit: मुदिता) means joy; especially sympathetic or vicarious joy.
Also: the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people's well-being.

The traditional paradigmatic example of this mind-state is the attitude of a parent observing a growing child's accomplishments and successes. Mudita should not be confounded with pride as a person feeling mudita may not have any interest or direct income from the accomplishments of the other. Mudita is a pure joy unadulterated by self interest.

When we can be happy of the joys other beings feel, it is called mudita; the opposite word is envy or schadenfreude.

I always wondered why people couldn't just be happy for each other. I'm in a business where there is a lot of jealousy and negative feelings towards fellow photographers. I never understood why one photographer couldn't be happy for another's accomplishments. I'm definitely not saying that all photographers hate each other but sometimes when the market is small and there are too many people vying for the same jobs, it's easy to start harboring bad feelings toward each other. 

Last night a new friend who I met at the workshop told me how wonderful her wedding photographer was and seeing her face light up as she told me about the day and the photos made me happy. It had nothing to do with me but I was thrilled a photographer made her feel that joy.

2014 has been a year of building a community for me. A group of people with drive and ambition who want to celebrate and help each other. I love seeing people come together and make something to help others.  I feel that too many people are in the "what can you do for me?" mode. They help others so they can feel better about themselves. I always felt like the odd ball for being happy for people when I got nothing out of it. I was purely happy because they were happy. Maybe that's why pretty much any viral video of something good happening makes me cry hysterically.

Anyway, I guess what I am trying to get at is I want to follow the mudita philosophy. Once I opened myself up to being positive and happy, life has gotten so much better. Not happy just when something good happens to me, but just happy and joyful in general. My sarcasm and dry sense of humor is still there but that doesn't mean that deep down I'm not happy. I have my dark days like anyone else and I don't walk around grinning (that's just weird). Seeing people be weighed down by negativity made me so appreciative of the good things in life and makes me wish the best for others. Everyone deserves a happy life and I will be there to cheer them on.