In which I begin my journey…..

The meaning behind the title of this first post (of many more to come) is twofold: I am beginning both a real-world adventure and a virtual one simultaneously, using one to document the other.

I’m Coki, an old nickname from the years I spent as the stage manager for a theatre company. The nickname grew on me and I now consider it almost an alter ego, or rather a specific facet of my personality — the creative, artistic, musical, inspired part of me.

My inspiration for this site, as life would have it, is twofold as well; five days from now, I am leaving on a seventeen-day road trip with my very favorite travel companion, my sister, K. I tend to express myself through art, poetry, photographs, music — any creative medium that allows me to define my experiences. I’m certain that I’ll be using all of those methods, and others, to document my third journey around the United States and life afterwards.

I’m preparing for this trip right on the heels of finishing another (albeit smaller) virtual challenge, which had an unexpected impact on me: the #100happydays challenge. If you’re not familiar, #100happydays is an open-to-anyone challenge, issued to users of any social media sites (be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc), to post one thing every day that brings them joy. It can be something as small as a short line at Starbucks or making it to work without traffic, all the way up to photos of your wedding or a new baby — the point is to seek out at least one joyful thing that happens to you every day, for 100 days in a row.

This challenge had a really deep impact on how I view things, and how I plan to try and view them in the future. It makes you pay more attention to the positives in your day, because you have this challenge in the back of your mind all the time. Even on days when it felt like nothing was going right (and there were several during my challenge), you know that you have to post something happy — you start reviewing your day in your head, trying to think of something to post, and the most amazing thing about it is that there was always something positive I could say. There was a day I felt so stressed that I cried in the bathroom at work; yet by the end of the day I had found something positive, turned my day around, and kept on smiling.

The combination of this challenge, and the trip I’m about to take, have made me feel this wonderful, almost overwhelming sense of inspiration. I’ve been singing and writing and feeling this creative flow that I haven’t in so long, and rather than assume it’s a temporary mood change, I want to encourage this energy and make myself do something with it.

Therefore, I am committing to this creative project — documenting things that inspire me and bring me joy. I want a place to share my inspirations — thoughts, quotes, poetry, photographs, art, anything that comes to mind — and gather them together in this one place, a place I can return to when inspiration is thin on the ground.

I’m calling this place of mine The Illumination of Joy, and I hope the things that make me happy and provide inspiration to me will inspire others as well.

“People who hover in doorways are coming from nowhere and are headed nowhere.” -Shonda Rhimes

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