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This year I’ve been studying at uni.  These thoughts are inspired by an assignment I had for an art subject.

 

Joy is Possible

Even here, even now.  Without lying to ourselves about how awful many situations are.  Without minimising how much death and misery there is.

 

Joy is . . .

Joy is engaging. Engaging with our beloved, a challenge, a situation, an artistic medium.

Joy is vulnerable. We are affected by what we engage with; a change can mean the end of our joy.

Joy is helped by safety. A safe place where we are free to try, experiment, learn, fail.  Being stressed by risk doesn’t make for joy.

Joy is about what is true. Whether the depths of our self, an insight from a joke, or the possibilities and limitations of an artistic medium.

Joy is in all parts of the creative process.  The inspiration, the making, discovering what we want to say or do, and in the delight in a well resolved work.

 

Joy is possible . . .

Joy is possible if we set aside our prejudices and engage with what is before us;

a blank piece of paper and some paint,

a friend,

a difficulty.

 

Not forcing ourselves, but in our own time and rhythm.

Joy means engaging with something. Which means bringing,

our hopes,

our thoughts,

our fears,

our love,

our skill and clumsiness;

our past delights and disappointments,

to the here and now.

Perhaps tentatively, or brashly, or with calm deliberation.

 

Joy is possible.

If,

we will engage with who and what is around us;

by slowing our breath,

and listening,

feeling what we’re touching,

paying attention to what we are seeing, or,

closing our eyes and paying attention to what is happening for us;

then;

Joy is possible now.

 

As always your comments are very welcome in the box below.

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Rage and Despair

 

We will all likely experience rage and despair at some time in our lives. I am writing this now for my American friends.

 

Totally

Rage and despair tend to be total experiences.

Rage is more than anger. It wants the object of the rage to be totally gone, obliterated, not around any more.

Despair is more than sadness. It sees no hope, not anywhere.

Which means that rage and despair can be very hard to deal with. They are the whole of our world for a time.

 

Little Bits

But there is a whole world outside our despair and rage. There is a time before and very likely there will be a time after.

And perhaps the easiest way to know this is to focus on something small.

I can’t change the whole world, but: I can join an organisation, help a friend, make my lifestyle a little more sustainable.

 

Listening

Rage and despair aren’t wrong. They are important information that we see something very wrong. And wanting to do something about this is very good. And we need to be intelligent about what we do, so that we don’t make things worse but better.

It is good to listen to our rage and despair. Until we know what it is we want to do. It may well be radical – and the first step on the radical path may seem very small to an outside observer. And it will be easier and more enjoyable if you have others who understand your concern and even are willing to support what you are doing. Friends on the journey make the travelling easier. So, consider sharing your concerns and ideas with those you think are likely to listen to you.

 

To Do

1, Find a way to listen to your rage and despair.

Write in a journal. Express it through some kind of art. Talk to others who will be able to hear. Gradually you will find clarity. And then you can act with some sense of where you are heading and what you want to achieve.

 

2. Consider talking to others, joining with them and learning more.

 

3. Find one or more things you can do regularly in response to your rage and despair.

It may be a spiritual practise. (Meditate on or pray about the beauty you can see around you and how it is being destroyed.)

Write a letter each day, or once a week. Sign online petitions.

Talk to one person each day about what you care about and why.

Go to a regular meeting of an organisation working on what you care about.

 

There are difficult times ahead. We will need to develop habits, connections and lifestyles that will help us channel our rage and despair to create a better world.

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