Be Open to New Ways of Finding Joy

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The following blog post was written by Laura Ruby - Director of Accessibility Policy and Standards at Microsoft. She has worked in this area of the technology sector for more than 22 years.

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I have lived with lupus for three decades and too often find myself focusing on things I can no longer do. However, I’ve also learned there is always another path to finding joy.

This month an inspiring article about Tommy Hollenstein, who learned to paint with his wheelchair and his dog, reminded me of the importance of being open to new paths.

"I thought that art was stolen from me," Hollenstein, who was injured in a bicycle accident, says in the story. "I thought creativity was all in my hands. I didn't realize it was really hidden within."

In other words, if we allow ourselves to be creative, we can find new ways to connect with what we love. And technology can help.

For example, I used to go on long hikes at national parks across the Pacific Northwest. Now, I go on shorter walks at local parks and gardens. I take pictures and videos with my Windows Phone and then store my images in the cloud with SkyDrive. On those days when I can’t even manage a short walk, I look at my photographs of flowers and trickling streams on my phone or PC and connect with nature in a new way.

Finding joy in fresh ways is a lesson we all can learn, whether we have health issues or are simply aging. We can leverage technology to make that happen.

Check out Tommy's story and video.

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  • I had the great fortune of meeting Tommy while my son was in Children's Hospital in Boston.  We have a painting hanging in our hall that Tommy helped my son paint.  Tommy's visit was truly an inspiration to me and an experience I treasure.  

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