Recently, the Radical Joy for Hard Times Earth Ambassadors* tried an experiment. They decided to see what it would be like to do our RadJoy Practice in just 15 minutes.
If you have participated in our annual Global Earth Exchange or another RadJoy program, you’ll know that the four suggested steps are:
1. Go to a wounded place
2. Sit awhile and share your stories
3. Get to know the place as it is now
4. Make a gift of beauty for the place
Sometimes when people consider doing this simple and meaningful practice, they hesitate because they heap all kinds of expectations on themselves: It’ll be too hard, I won’t be able to get anyone to do it with me, I don’t know where to go.
The Earth Ambassadors experiment took place in the middle of the group’s monthly phone call. The invitation was to find a place in your own home that needs some attention and focus on it for 15 minutes, then return to the group to share stories.
The results were surprisingly deep for such a short time. We discovered, first of all, that there were places in our very own midst that we had been avoiding: a woodland damaged by an ice storm, an ailing tree, a potentially dangerous road, a sick dog, and others. Just as we sometimes do when we circumvent a gas fracking site or clearcut so as to avoid feeling the pain of it, we were discovered that we were pushing aside feelings of dislike, anxiety, or discomfort for neglected places in our midst.
We also found that, by actually attending to these hurt places—sitting with them, speaking to them, opening up to our feelings—we were gifted with a sense of relief and wholeness. We looked at the place differently. We emboldened ourselves to do what was necessary to acknowledge reality and change what we could. And by making beauty—from the RadJoy Bird to a little heart made of the hair of an ailing dog after her bath in the tub—we recognized again that what is beautiful and what is wounded are all intrinsic and meaningful parts of the great living Earth and our own expansive hearts.
*The Earth Ambassadors is a small group of people who have been actively engaged in the RadJoy Practice and are dedicated to bringing this work of beautiful survival on Earth to their communities. Contact me for more information.