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Much love, and Namaste...

Columbia River Gorge

Exult Road is here to uplift and celebrate life, and you. 

Publishing, Writing, Consulting

Jill L. Cooper

Jill L. Cooper is a poet and writer. Her writing has appeared in print literary journals, The Raven ChroniclesThe Floating Bridge ReviewShark Reef Literary Magazine, as well as online magazines, Rewire MeThe Rebelle Society, HIV Here & Now, and others. Cooper’s poetry has been anthologized in Silent Applause of Butterflies (Columbia Center for the Arts, 2014), Pontoon (Floating Bridge, 2015), Delirious—A Tribute to Prince (Night Ballet Press, 2016), and in I Only Wanted to See You Laughing (Yellow Chair Review, 2016), and others. She was the creator and editor of The Yes Book (Exult Road, 2014). Cooper has served as the Executive Director of a Buddhist publishing house, and as a consultant to publishers, and as an author coach. She is currently working on a book-length collection of prose poetry, and on a collection of lyrical essays. Cooper lives in the beautiful Palouse region of Washington state. In all her work, she intends to affirm and celebrate existence. To contact her, write to jillcooper11 at gmail dot com. 

Your Joy is Your Sorrow Unmasked.

Jill Cooper

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
— Kahlil Gibran, Of Joy and Sorrow


My heart is filled with love for all of who suffer.


I was taught to “accept” grief and all its "stages."


Acceptance for the cause of grief from the mind is not always possible, or even desired.


Acceptance for the feelings generated by the cause, however is not only possible, it's essential. Suffering is rejected sorrow. Suffering is pain, resisted. Realizing this is the unmasking of sorrow.


The experience of sadness itself is not what creates the capacity for joy. It is the heart-acceptance of all feelings that works like the potter’s hands, molding and smoothing the capacity for joy.


When sorrow is experienced as sensation in the body, calmly, in the silent spaces between thoughts: the edifice of suffering crumbles. The mold of habit melts away. 


When you attend to all feelings like a gentle parent would her child, soothing, you begin to feel a lightness of being - maybe barely perceptible at first - but there it is, sweet relief in the moment. 


Many years ago, I made a grief box. In it I placed objects that symbolized my sorrow of that time- for losses, the planet, others, everything.  Each day, I would set aside the gift of twenty undisturbed minutes to open the box and feel the wave of sadness. Diving into the sensations, I felt them, finally. I didn't drown.


Soon I realized that feelings, if felt, don't hurt. It's the idea behind, and the resistance to them that cause suffering. There was nothing to process. There was nothing to figure out. There was no self-improvement needed. There were feelings to feel. There was a choice of what to dwell on in my thoughts. I was my own salvation.


I just had to be present with those feelings, and when I did, with love, they transformed into hope, then joy, then eventually, bliss.


But bliss is unsustainable every moment though. You would explode from ecstasy if it were. So, joy feelings need to be felt fully too! Joy rises and moves through the body also, when felt.


Emptied of the weight of unfelt feelings, both sorrow and joys, is the sweet fruit of equanimity. Sweetness and peace can crack out of their shell and sprout from the lightest of intention.


Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. 


It is rosy glow of the ancient consciousness, silenced. It is a clear sky on a new day.  


It is a thousand birds swirling together on a wind. Born from the experience of real contrast, joy is the eye of compassion, the breath of relief, and the voice you can always trust.


With Love,