When freezing temperatures shut down the state of Texas two weeks ago, my friend Lisa discovered that when you offer beauty and random acts of kindness in hard times, people give back.
Because Lisa has a full-time job, she was able to move to a hotel when the power went out in her Dallas home. A couple of days later, she learned that another couple staying at the hotel needed to get to the airport and hadn’t been able to find a taxi. Lisa offered to drive them. When they arrived at the airport, the couple insisted on giving her $20 to pay for the gas. Next Lisa drove to the supermarket to pick up a few things to take back to her hotel room. Standing in the check-out line, she impetuously gave the $20 gift to the family ahead of her. They then insisted on buying her a cup of coffee and a doughnut in the store’s coffee shop.
This is “paying it forward” exemplified!
When hard times hit and your whole environment is a wounded place, it may be premature to think right away about making gifts of beauty for the place itself. As the immediate aftershocks of the crisis settle, we can begin to think about RadJoy’s signature practice of creating beauty for neighborhoods, trees, and lands. In the beginning, it’s often other living beings who most need our acts of beauty.

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:

MORE RADICAL JOY REVEALED

  • IMG 5758

How Is It Possible to Love a Hurt Place?

Shortly after meeting in Cazenovia, New York in 2009 to design our new organization, Radical Joy for Hard Times founding member Noah Crowe experimented with the practice we’d devised to find and make beauty in [...]

  • Mind The Heart Copy

How to Fill a Hole

What do you do with a big hole? Do you negotiate around it? Do you figure it’s beyond repair and try to ignore it? Or do you take the RadJoy approach and fill the hole [...]

  • Joanne At Shell

Reimagining the Unimaginable

Author and educator Joanna Macy has taught that there are three positive ways of dealing with a difficult situation: 1.     Fight to save what matters 2.     Work to create new, positive alternatives 3.     Change consciousness Sometimes, if we’re [...]

More Revealed

SUBSCRIBE

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

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