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 love.
To be honest, when I founded RadJoy in 2009, I thought that what we were doing really was all about giving back to the Earth. It seemed to me that many of us humans—I counted myself among them—had done enough “inner work” already and it was high time to give something back to the places that have given so much to us.
However, the stories of the hundreds of people who have found and made beauty in wounded places over the past ten years, and my own experiences as well, have changed my mind. I’ve come to realize that profound inner changes really do occur in people who adopt the RadJoy Practice:
  1. The more we consciously choose to face a wounded forest or river, the more skilled we become to dealing forthrightly with other challenges in our lives.
  2. The effort alone to find beauty in a place that’s been damaged doses us with a powerful medicine: the realization that we can find beauty in all kinds of difficult and painful circumstances.
  3. Working with other people to make something as simple, lovely, and occasionally goofy as a bird composed of twigs, stones, flowers, or trash teaches us that creativity is bigger, easier, more delightful, more restorative, and more universal than we ever dreamed.
  4. Making a gift of beauty for a hurt place on the Earth, we come to understand that we are gifted ourselves in the ability to make beauty in all kinds of other hurting places, both inner and outer.

—Trebbe Johnson

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

Image Credit:

  • Strickland Erie, CO Umbrella & Gas: Christi Strickland

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