Albrecht Land

Australia’s Burnt Land Absorbs and Greens

January 22, 2020

Since massive wildfires began burning in eastern Australia in September, 24 people have been killed, thousands of homes have vanished in flames, and almost 25 million acres have burned. It is estimated that a billion …

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Friedmann Children 2 Copy

When Young People Mourn Lost Nature

January 15, 2020

Elizabeth’s childhood home in New England was near a woodland. She loved spending time there. The woods were her playground, her refuge, her friend, her spiritual home. She knew those trees and stones, birds and …

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Raven NPS Cropped 1

The ravens on your shoulder will whisper in your ear

January 8, 2020

Ernest Lowe, poet, gardener, activist, and member of our Radical Joy for Hard Times community, who lives in Wisconsin, wrote this beautiful reflection on our Facebook page last July. It seems particularly apt at this …

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Be on the Lookout… for the Hard Times That Need You

January 1, 2020

Every Thursday afternoon, Iranian people go to visit the graves of their loved ones. In this film, which is just under two minutes long, an elderly couple recites poetry to each other as they drive …

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Medina 2012

I Choose to Get Involved

December 26, 2019

When I make a gift to a place, whether it’s aural, visual, prayerful, or musical, I am only the first artist. Wind, waves, rain, sun, animals, traffic, or other humans will take over where I …

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Tree With Ornaments

Radical Beauty for Holiday Hard Times

December 18, 2019

Many people get sad during the holiday season. All that rampant, excessive holiday promo about love and family, cheer and gift-giving makes us feel that the whole world is imbued with generosity and kindness, whereas …

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Rosa Parks Bus Seat

Empty Bus Seats Honor Rosa Parks

December 11, 2019

On December 1, 1955, a black seamstress named Rosa Parks got on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama and refused to move when the bus driver told her to give up her seat to a white …

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Fabric Story


December 4, 2019

The fabric art above was made by a young woman who was 16 years old when she was abducted, raped, beaten, and held captive in Congo. She became pregnant and gave birth. Because the parents of …

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9:11 Memorial

How Acts of Beauty Filled New York After September 11

November 25, 2019

The idea of making an anonymous act of beauty for a place came to me when I offered a ceremony for New Yorkers two months after the September 11 attacks. The event, called Attending the …

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Costa Rica Altar

The Gift Decoupled

November 13, 2019

The French anthropologist and sociologist Marcel Mauss (1872-1950) was the first westerner to write about gift-giving as an essential aspect of culture, more widespread and more universal than any other. Mauss saw gift-giving as a …

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Mandala Sasha Daucus

The Wound Is Part of the Wholeness

November 6, 2019

Sasha Daucus has been an active member of Radical Joy for Hard Times since 2012 and has hosted Global Earth Exchanges every year since then. For the 2017 GEx she rallied people in her hometown of …

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Flowers In Phone Booth

Introducing Flower Flash!

October 23, 2019

For about three years floral designer Lewis Miller has been recycling flowers as a way to jolt busy, always preoccupied New Yorkers into a moment of delighted awareness of their surroundings. He and his team …

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The Image of the Grain in the Granite

October 16, 2019

Carmel Point Robinson Jeffers (1887-1961) The extraordinary patience of things! This beautiful place defaced with a crop of suburban houses — How beautiful when we first beheld it, Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with …

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Sunyu Kim QKrrfTi Ikw Unsplash


October 14, 2019

This blog usually features stories about finding and making beauty in the hurt places of the Earth. But sometimes the hurt places are in us humans-and nature, both spoiled and splendid, can offer gifts of …

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Kincade Fire

One Young Woman Responds to California Fires—And Earth in Crisis

October 10, 2019

Much of California is in flames as I write today. Residents are in a state of high anxiety and the trauma of having lived through other fires so recently. Homes and businesses are burning, and …

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IMG 2282

A More Permanent Gift of Beauty

October 2, 2019

Usually, the kind of beauty or art that we make in Radical Joy for Hard Times practices is ephemeral, spontaneous, and not meant to last. We create it out of materials we find at a …

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IMG 0198

Giving Voice to Heart

September 29, 2019

When we approach a damaged place for the first time, we often feel anxious. We worry that our grief about what has happened to this river, this wetland, this old neighborhood will be so overwhelming …

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Forest Fire Design

Those Who Protect Wild Places

September 29, 2019

Guides of wilderness rites of passage programs can’t just take people into beautiful, pristine forests, deserts, and mountains whenever and wherever they want to. They have to deal with permits, applications, and regulations from such …

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Matt Stansberry

Don’t Live Separately. Don’t Despair.

September 29, 2019

In his book, Rust Belt Arcana, Matt Stansberry boldly interweaves the Major Arcana of the Tarot into an exploration of the lives and habits of such denizens of northern Ohio as fireflies, possums, puffball mushrooms, box …

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“You Are Not Alone”

September 29, 2019

In this video, author and advocate of sacred economics Charles Eisenstein talks about the distress that he and so many of us feel as we watch thousands of acres of Brazilian rain forest burn. And …

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Playground Lumbee

Helping Kids Play After Disaster

September 4, 2019

After an environmental disaster, when people are focused on filling out FEMA forms, trying to find clothes and medicine, organizing a place to stay, and even coping with such formerly mundane matters as wishing to …

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Iceland Glacier Memorial E1563815289987

Memorial for a Glacier

August 21, 2019

On August 18, Iceland held a ceremony to officially mark the passing of a glacier. In 1901 Okjökull glacier spanned 24 square miles. By 2005 it had almost disappeared, and in 2014 it lost its …

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“Left a bottle of water in the mailbox”

August 14, 2019

“On a really hot day, left a bottle of water in the mailbox for the mail carrier.” That was the message left by a woman on the ServiceSpace website in the section called “Stories of Kindness from …

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This Is Not Myself

August 7, 2019

The first time I made beauty for a hurt place was in the Utah Canyonlands. I was hiking along a narrow canyon, following the wash that had cut through the fox-red rock, when I came upon …

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Thyme 2019 Copy

Warrior Woman for the Missing

July 31, 2019

This week’s story comes from a woman called Thyme Eternity, who lives in British Columbia. Her heartbreak over the ongoing crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls took a newly personal turn two …

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Sun In Leaves

The Moment the South Breeze Blew

July 24, 2019

It was a sweltering summer afternoon. My husband had had a recent accident and was in a lot of pain, and I was worried about him. To make matters worse, I was scheduled to leave …

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What Is the New Story?

July 10, 2019

When we’re honest with ourselves, we recognize that we as inhabitants of the Earth are entering a time of enormous change. It is a time of loss, to be sure, with species becoming extinct and …

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Mural 4

The Border Wall That’s Beautiful

July 3, 2019

Ever since he ran for office, Donald Trump has been boasting that he would build a wall between Mexico and the United States strong enough to keep immigrants away. According to Trump, those who are …

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IMG 2831

“All We Do Matters”

June 26, 2019

“All we do matters,” wrote Judy Todd of NatureConnect NW after the Global Earth Exchange she and friends held for the Sandy River near Portland, Oregon last Saturday. And as people around the world showed at …

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Fowler Plastic Med Wheel Small

Why Beauty Might Save Your Life

June 19, 2019

Some people challenge members of our Radical Joy for Hard Times community about our way of responding to local and global environmental challenges. They say, “What good does making beauty do?” They say, “Why aren’t …

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Frangs Whale

10 Ways You Can’t Do It Wrong

June 12, 2019

As people around the world get ready to participate in the Global Earth Exchange on June 22, we like to remind everyone that this event is all about reconnecting people with place. It’s about taking …

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SargassoEE Offering

Baseline Creep in Cancun

June 5, 2019

Sasha Daucus of Doniphan, Missouri engages in the RadJoy Practice wherever she goes. Here is a story she sent us just yesterday from a beach near Cancun, Mexico. Last week I was teaching an Avatar …

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Omega EEx 2019

Ceremony for the Land We Thought We Knew

May 29, 2019

Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, has been offering programs in creative expression, healing and health, and mind-body-spirit practices for more than forty years. Thousands of people have had life-changing experiences on those grounds, both …

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Strickland Erie, CO Umbrella & Gas

The Way It Works on You (Too)

May 22, 2019

Radical Joy for Hard Times does not claim that we can heal the Earth. We can, however, heal the relationship between ourselves and the Earth, most especially the places where we live and that we …

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Crying Post

Crying Posts Wail as They Bear Witness: Radical Joy Revealed

May 21, 2019

“The indigenous Australian people relate to the world in a way that has had a powerful effect on me,” writes artist Dennis Summers. Inspired in part by this living, collaborative relationship between the Aboriginal people …

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Clancy RedBones

Lessons from Skeleton Woman: Radical Joy Revealed

May 21, 2019

When people go to wounded places and make gifts of beauty for them, they often tell us how surprised they were by what happened. They had gone with feelings of reluctance, sure that they would …

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First Blooms

Of Eros and of Dust: Radical Joy Revealed

April 24, 2019

Defenseless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered …

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Dale Wilson

How very loud a wounded place speaks: Radical Joy Revealed

April 17, 2019

The following excerpt is from our very first Global Earth Exchange in 2009. The writer, Meredith Little of Big Pine, California, chose as her wounded place the Owens Valley, a once fertile riparian area whose …

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Sams Dog

A Walk Through Ragged Beauty

March 27, 2019

You never know where you’ll find beauty amidst ugliness and waste — and you never know when the act of making beauty there can bring extraordinary gifts.   This personal story by Harriet Sams of Yorkshire, England …

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This Place Is Wounded

March 22, 2019

Right now, Christchurch, New Zealand is a wounded place. After a racist gunman killed fifty people there last week and wounded many others, the city and country that pride themselves on providing a safe home …

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Shane Grammer Mural Artist 10

Artist Brings Beauty to Burned Houses

March 18, 2019

On the last day of 2018, California artist Shane Grammer got the idea of painting a mural of a woman’s face on the burned wall of one of the nearly 14,000 homes that were destroyed …

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For Whom Do the Birds Sing?

March 11, 2019

Sometimes it is during the hardest and most challenging circumstances of our lives that we are most deeply surprised and touched by beauty. During the Israeli bombardment of Beirut in 1982, the Palestinian poet Mahmoud …

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Shadow Places

March 7, 2019

Carl Jung defined the Shadow as a part of the human personality that we are ashamed or embarrassed about. Because it represents the opposite of our conscious, chosen attitude about ourselves, we try to push it …

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Sow And Piglets

Reteach a Thing Its Loveliness

February 27, 2019

Reteach a thing its loveliness — that’s what we do when we practice RadJoy. And it’s what poet Galway Kinnell offers in this poem about an old sow. St. Francis and the Sow by Galway Kinnell …

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Watch Children

Partners in Gift Giving: 3,000 Miles Apart

February 19, 2019

Those who practice RadJoy know the power going to a hurt place they love and giving it some attention and beauty. But what would it be like to give a gift of beauty to a …

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Strickland GEx Gas Tanks

It Takes Guts to Do This!

February 13, 2019

Recently, an active member of the RadJoy network who lives in England expressed discouragement that so many of the people she tries to talk to about our practice of finding and making beauty for hurt …

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Habeas Corpus

Music the Color of Architecture

February 6, 2019

An old building with a sad past captivated the imagination of 16-year-old Anna Schuleit-Haber and wouldn’t let go. The former state hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts, not far from the boarding school she attended, had closed a …

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Cole Thomas The Oxbow (The Connecticut River Near Northampton 1836)

Ancient Environmentalism

January 30, 2019

The American landscape painter Thomas Cole, born in 1801, has been called an “environmentalist before there was environmentalism.” Cole, who was born in England, loved the wild, vast beauty of the United States, and he …

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Open Seam Coal Mine

The Pain and Grace of Solastalgia

January 16, 2019

Getting in touch with their own solastalgia, the pain of losing a loved place, suddenly gave Australian farmers a deeper compassion for the suffering of Aboriginal people who lost their land.

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Braiding the River image

Braiding the River

January 9, 2019

In 2013, when the Polish government proposed to control flooding of the Bialka River in southern Poland by digging steeper banks and building concrete containment walls, Cecylia Malik decided that protesting and writing letters and petitions …

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Please help RadJoy launch these wonderful plans in 2019!

December 27, 2018

Dear Members of the RadJoy Community, Thank you for creating the global community of Radical Joy for Hard Times! Because of the gifts of beauty you’ve made for all kinds of wounded places and your …

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Vance County Animal Shelter Bldg

Music Brings Calm to Shelter Dogs

December 18, 2018

Animal control officer and musician Chad Olds sings to dogs awaiting adoption at an animal shelter. Chad Olds is an animal control officer in Vance County, North Carolina, but earlier in his career, he was …

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RadJoy Revealed Children Make Mother Earth Feel Better

Children Make Mother Earth Feel Better

November 21, 2018

  Children from Canberra Quaker Regional Meeting, Canberra, ACT, Australia, painting stones that they then gave as gifts to places they felt needed some love and beauty. Photo by Wilma Davidson. Children are deeply connected to …

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RadJoy Revealed Honoring The Creatures Who Are No More

Honoring the Creatures Who Are No More

November 14, 2018

Camilla Schofield placing sticks in the North Sea in memory of angel sharks killed by trawl fishing, Remembrance Day for Lost Species. Photo courtesy of Camilla Schonfield. This year, Radical Joy for Hard Times is …

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RadJoy Revealed When Death Brings Gifts Of Life

When Death Brings Gifts of Life

November 7, 2018

Kevin McKowen with his sister Amanda after playing ice hockey, a passion for both of them. Photo courtesy of Maryanne McKowen When Kevin McKowen lost his life after being hit by a car, his family made …

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RadJoy Revealed From A Site Without Meaning To Sacred Ground

From a Site without Meaning to Sacred Ground

October 31, 2018

Beauty made from natural and plastic materials at a mall. 2010 Global Earth Exchange, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo by Mary Janet Fowler At a time when this living planet and the geopolitical world we all inhabit …

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RadJoy Revealed Just Facing The Wound Is The First Act Of Beauty

Just Facing the Wound Is the First Act of Beauty

October 24, 2018

Ashes from a community destroyed by the Santa Rosa fire in 2017. Photo by Gabrielle Lurie, San Francisco Chronicle Her home was destroyed when the Santa Rosa wildfire roared through her neighborhood in western California. …

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RadJoy Revealed Wings For A Spring... And A Man

Wings for a Spring… and a Man

October 17, 2018

Molly Brown, Trebbe Johnson, their RadJoy Bird, and a meditating man at the spring on Mt. Shasta When we make a gift to a place, whether it’s aural, visual, prayerful, or musical, we are only …

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RadJoy Revealed Early Morning Earth Exchange

Early Morning Earth Exchange

October 10, 2018

The RadJoy Bird created by Harriet Sams and friends during their early morning RadJoy Practice, North Yorkshire, England. Photo by Harriet Sams Meeting at 8am to undertake an Earth Exchange was always going to be …

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RadJoy Revealed Committed To One Earth One Humanity One Future Conscious Elders Network

One Earth, One Humanity, One Future: Conscious Elders Network

October 3, 2018

Members of Conscious Elders Network–determined to make waves into the future. Photo courtesy of Conscious Elders Network This year, Radical Joy for Hard Times is honored to partner with nine pioneering organizations whose work inspires …

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RadJoy Revealed Tools For Recycling In The Heart

Tools for Recycling in the Heart

September 26, 2018

  Trebbe Johnson at her 2018 Global Earth Exchange for a brownfield under restoration, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. Photo by Andrew Gardner Yesterday, September 25, was the publication day of Trebbe Johnson’s new book, Radical Joy for Hard …

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RadJoy Revealed RadJoy Beauty For A Place With A Heavy History

RadJoy Beauty for a Place with a Heavy History

September 19, 2018

Tom deBree (center), Sasha Daucus (right), and participants in their RadJoy Practice near Rocky Flats, Colorado. Nuclear weapons were produced at this site for 40 years. On Monday, August 12, Sasha Daucus and Tom deBree …

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RadJoy Revealed OVEC Defending The Mountains And Their People

OVEC: Defending the Mountains and Their People

September 12, 2018

Members of OVEC participating in the Climate March, Huntington, West Virginia This year, Radical Joy for Hard Times is honored to partner with nine pioneering organizations whose work inspires and complements our own. Beginning this …

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Bananas Become Art Become Food

September 5, 2018

The Hindu elephant god, Ganesh, made of bananas Ganesha is the Hindu god who orchestrates between form and formlessness. He is the omnipresent energy out of which  all things manifest and into which they will ultimately …

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Sorrow: Elemental Richness

August 29, 2018

Vincent Van Gogh, Landscape in Stormy Weather, 1885. Van Gogh Museum Radical Joy for Hard Times strives to face the sorrow of broken places honestly and, by resting there–in sorrow and in the place–find beauty …

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Getting the Heart Ready for the Hard Times

August 22, 2018

In this summer of 2018, torrential rains swamp the northeastern states of America, and fires rage in the west. Heat scorches Europe, and the rainy season in Bali has lasted for almost a year. Few …

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At Play in a Broken Place

August 15, 2018

Palestinian children playing in rubble caused by an Israeli bomb. Photo by Mahmud Hams There are many ways to get reacquainted with–and even fall back in love with–a wounded place: vigil, music, art, prayer. And …

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Gold in a Hole in a Street in Fargo

August 8, 2018

“We dedicate this yellow-gold magic encapsulated in the bundle of yarn to unsung heroes–plants that grow in cracks in cement.” People Binding the Earth in Fargo, ND by Maya Gelfman and Roie Avidan. Photo by Mind …

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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.