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After 199 posts on the pursuit of love — the question begs to be asked, “Have I found Love?”

I have certainly found more of the capital “L” love. I was going to say I love myself now more than seven months ago, but in truth, I have always had the inner-being kind of love. We all have it. The difference is that I am allowing myself to feel it — to enjoy it — to embrace it.

Image8gardenI emailed a friend today and commented that nothing exciting happened this week. If she had sent me that comment I would have thought, How sad that her week was boring. I obviously still need to work on my mental thought process. I still occasionally equate joy with excitement and adrenalin rushes. They can be but they certainly don’t have to be. This week was anything but boring. It was peaceful. I gardened, spent time with nature, played with the cats, took lots of photos, spent time with family and friends, created a short story, joined Artists4Peace blog, watched a bunch of TED talks, and promised a non-organic farmer at the farmer’s market, Stephaine’s little green worm spray so that I can buy his fruits and veg. These might not be exciting things to write or talk about but they certainly were not boring. These are all things that brought me peace and joy and dare I say — LOVE.

Recently. it has come up on multiple occasions how much I love photography. In each of the conversations the other person said, “And your writing.” And I said, “I love photography. I like writing.” So for my 200th Love Post, I offer you suggestions figuring out what you love to do. If I asked myself these questions about photography they almost always would be YES. If I asked myself these about writing some would be YES but mostly they would be NO.

Image10foggygeeseWould I get up at 6 am to do this activity? (Note: I am not a morning person. Your question might be would you stay up late?)

Will I put up with physical discomfort for this activity? (too hot, too cold, getting rained on, mosquito bites, stepping in goose poo)

Image3sunset3Do I feel at peace while doing the activity?

Would I do this activity if there was no chance for monetary rewards, recognition, awards…? If no one else ever saw the results of my efforts?

Do I feel like my day is incomplete if I’ve failed to do this activity for a least a little while?

Image5ducklingsIf I’m feeling unwell, will I find a way to do this activity anyway? And will I usually feel better when I’m done?

chickadeehairywoodpeckerToday I went for walk and to take pictures. I was too hot because I had long pants on to ward off the mosquitoes. I was actually going to avoid the wooded trail. I was feeling off from some exposures a few days ago but I found my feet carrying onto the trail anyway. If I had been anywhere else with that many mosquitoes I would have quit and gone home. But somehow as I took pictures of a chickadee and a woodpecker — they seemed tolerable.

The lighting was not good. Neither bird would hold still. I ended up with less than stellar shots. Would I do it all over again? Absolutely.  As I was leaving the trail I heard a loud call of an unfamiliar bird. I spent a couple of minutes looking in the dense foliage with no luck. I walked on. But that bird kept calling. It wasn’t even a conscious thought — I turned and went back and didn’t leave until I finally found the bird and with my neck craned way-way back and took photo after photo. It felt like Christmas and Valentine’s Day all wrapped together when I got home and uploaded the photos. I managed to photograph my first common yellowthroat (warbler). They are supposed to hang out in swamps, marshes, and wet thickets — none of which I was in. And this is one of the things I love about photographing nature — nothing is predictable.

I also love the surprises. These three photos were taken in order. The middle photo should have been a disappointment. But when doing things you love other’s leave a bit of love for you to find. You will have to click on the photo to enlarge it but look what I captured as the warbler hopped to the next branch.

I hope you did today all the things that you love to do. And if you didn’t, why not?