New York Times reporter Tara Parker-Pope conducted an informal survey in which she asked thousands of people how they’re feeling these days. Not surprisingly, she reports in her article, “Four Lessons from Your Anxious Brain,” most of them felt uneasy. Among the adjectives they used to describe their current state of mind: “unsettled, anxious, overwhelmed, frazzled, tired, hopeful, optimistic, stressful, exhausted, excited.” Another study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that about one-third of post-pandemic Americans are suffering from anxiety and depression. My guess is that it’s probably about the same in every other country and even higher in countries like India, where Covid has been especially virulent.
Radical Joy for Hard Times is a community and a practice whose members strive not only to discover compassion and courage in our present actions but also to build resilience and creative muscle for the future. As the coronavirus has taught us so roughly, widespread emergencies affect us individuals in many ways, threatening our health, our jobs, our homes, and our sense of belonging in the world. If we’re honest, we recognize that climate change will impact us ever more severely in the decades to come. And, at the same time, we are continually challenged by crises in our personal lives.
“Telling yourself that you accept the current state of uncertainty can help, Dr. Judson Brewer told Parker-Pope. Try telling yourself, “I’ll change the things I can, and accept the things I can’t.” Among the four “lessons” proposed in the article are “Build your distress tolerance” and “Identify your best pandemic habits.”
That’s exactly what RadJoy does as we practice finding and making beauty in wounded places wherever and whenever we can. This simple practice builds up our psychological and spiritual muscles and reminds us that we are capable of manifesting a great deal of generosity and creativity, even in the hardest of times.