UNDERWATER followed Orville (meaning "gold town") the goldfish, and Speck is the Jade Snail for the month of November as I worked on some Solar Plexus Chakra healing and overall wellness through yoga routines and friendship.

Traditionally, goldfish have been used as a symbol of good luck, good fortune, and abundance. Regarding wellness, owning a fish can: help with sleep, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, reduce stress, reduce anxiety, improve mood and increase feelings of worth. Snails are associated with wisdom, slow progress, persistence, patience, peace, self-care, and harmony. It's a gentle creature that carries its home wherever it goes. Carol Ryff is a researcher at U Wisconsin Madison and has developed a scale to measure psychological wellness. The scale hits six qualities: autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, purpose, self-acceptance, and positive relations with others.

I didn't realize how short Orville's journey would be! But, in his short visit, Orville has taught me to: enjoy the simple things, take time to relax, remember to value what you have, change can be good, and keep swimming. Orville II, the fancy goldfish, replaced Orville, and I noticed that if I sit in a certain spot, it looks like he is four fish at once.

In Sanskrit, the word "chakra" means "wheel" and refers to the energy centers in your body that run along your spine. They start at the root of your spine and extend to the crown of your head. Your chakras need to stay open to function at their best. A great way to promote balance in a chakra is to create alignment in your physical body through: yoga postures, breathing practices to encourage the flow of energy, and meditation to bring about clarity of mind.

One summer, I wore the same highlighter yellow workout clothes nearly every day in hopes of jump-starting my solar plexus chakra. It was the summer I started seeing a chiropractor, which really helped me manage my chronic scoliosis back pain. It also helps my immune system, energy, blood pressure, digestion, breathing, balance, sleep, and range of motion.

The solar plexus chakra is a yellow-gold color located in your stomach area. It's responsible for confidence and self-esteem, as well as helping you feel in control of your life. It is considered the seat of the soul and translates to "city of jewels." Elementally, the solar plexus chakra is associated with fire, and its mantra is, "I can." Yoga is one powerful tool for realigning the solar plexus chakra. Specific asanas that can target this chakra include boat pose, lion pose, mountain pose, warrior pose, and seated spinal twist. When struggling with the solar plexus chakra, the simplest thing to do is to make small choices that create feelings of personal power and authenticity. With an aligned solar plexus, we can be our truest, most authentic selves in all we do and in every choice we make.

Depression has often felt like being underwater. Things feel like they are in slow motion, and it comes in waves. Apparently, this is a common analogy that people with depression and anxiety use. Betta fish are "fighting fish" because they can be very aggressive, especially towards other males. Depression and anger are two sides of the same coin. Depression is anger turned inward, and anger is depression turned outward. It is so important to avoid isolation. This little Betta Fish has taught me the importance of community.

Orville II and Speck have an aquaponics tank which is the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water and without soil) together in one integrated system. It converts the ammonia from the fish waste that is toxic to the fish and useless to the plants, first into nitrites and then into nitrates. My radish sprouts and wheatgrass just love this grow light. Always grow towards the light. It takes work. It shapes you. It bends you. Sometimes what breaks us into pieces can actually make us shine brighter.

"Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor Frankl deeply inspired my short film: UNDERWATER. His development of Logotherapy is transformative. Logotherapy is a scientifically based school of psychotherapy, based on the belief that the search for meaning even amidst misery can constitute a potential solution to human suffering. Meaning can be found by creating work, loving someone, or adopting a modified attitude toward inevitable suffering.

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

"What is to give light must endure burning."

"He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."

The mind and the body are connected. It's important to break those negative feedback loops that can feel endless.

Check out my latest short film, UNDERWATER!

  • Joy Waldinger
  • Joy Waldinger
  • Joy Waldinger
  • Joy Waldinger
    Key Cast
  • Joy Waldinger
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 3 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 28, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Joy Waldinger

I am an artist, writer, filmmaker and educator from Philadelphia. I write, produce, direct, film and edit my short films. Ever since I was about 10 years old, I’ve been filming with whatever junky camera I could get my hands on and instructing those closest to me to breathe life into one of my scripts. I have been published in: PhillyVoice, CRED Philly Magazine, The Sun Magazine and Evening Street Review. I was the Lloyd E. Penland Scholarship recipient (2012), received honorable mention for my short story “Cicada Crescendo” in the 2020 CRAFT Elements Contest (2020), placed third in The Bucks County Short Story Fiction Contest (2017) and The Bucks County Community College Haiku Contest (2012). I am a volunteer curator for Button Poetry and I recently self-published my children’s book Like The Sun Holds The Moon: A Children’s Book on Amazon.

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Director Statement

Film Festival Selections & Awards:
HEY, IT’S MOM: selected for the Ridgway Independent Film Fest (2020)
THANKS, DAD: selected for the (2020) Short to the Point ISFF AWARDS and
Semi-Finalist for the October-November bimonthly for DFF (Dumbo Film Festival)
Official Selection for the Creators Film Festival (2021)
Official Selection for Flickfair Film Festival (2021)
Official Selection for Motion Pictures International Film Festival (2021)
DESIGNED TO FAIL: winner for WRPN Women’s International Film Festival (2021)
SACRED: Won Indie Super Short Documentary for the Best Indie Film Award (January 2021) AND
Official selection for the Global Indie Film Fest
Official selection for the Beyond Film Festival 2021
JURASSIC AGGRESSIVE: Semi-Finalist for Iconic Images Film Festival (2021)
POCKET: honorable mention for the Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival
Finalist for the International Short Film Awards
Winner for the Hong Kong Indie Film Festival April 2021
NOURISHMENT: finalist for the Paris International Short Festival (2021)
TAPE: finalist for the Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift (2021)
SAHARA FONZIE: semi-finalist for the Niagara Falls International Short Film Festival (Summer 2021)