Choosing Joy For A Wounded World

woman dancing in a field

Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the Earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.

—Robin Wall Kimmerer

This quote spoke to me for several reasons. I read it in Rob Brezsny’s fabulous newsletter (you can read about that below), and it’s from a book that’s at the top of my “to read” pile — Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers and apparently is masterful in the way she weaves all of this together, while sharing stories from her ancestors. I really do need a parallel 24 hours/day just to read all the books in my pile!

The other reason this quote so touched me is that JOY has always been my top Core Value. You know about those Core Value assessments if you’ve done any coach training. Or if you’ve ever worked through the Conscious Dating program with me, or Laura Berman Fortgang’s “Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction” transition coaching program that I’m certified to offer.

For me, if I embrace joy, surround myself with joy, spread joy whenever I can… well, the rest just takes care of itself. One of my clients calls those kinds of words your “essence words”. I like that, too — words like JOY reflect the essence of who you are, what you strive for, where you want to plant your heart and soul to reach out from.

So, as you contemplate what your essence words are, I invite you to play with mine and find JOY in the complex, painful, beautiful world we’re now living in. Maybe some of my Picks this month will even inspire you to look for JOY in new places.

1) COME AUDITION FOR 4thU ARTIVISTS FALL BENEFIT!

Sun., 9/19; 2-5pm at Fourth U

So, why would participating in one of our shows be a joyful experience?? Just ask any of our past cast members! We create a deeply connected community with each production AND get to support organizations who work to end gender violence and empower women. What’s not to love?! We’re so excited to present our Fall show on November 5/6 — Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America” by Joshua Irving Gershick and directed by our own Nancy Robillard! This powerful show illuminates the lives of ordinary Queer Americans as recounted through letters written between 1953 and 1965, to L.A.’s ONE Magazine, the first openly gay & lesbian periodical in the United States. “Dear ONE” will be presented as a live, staged production, and streamed to a virtual audience. Net proceeds will go to support the work of the Audre Lorde Project.

You can register for auditions HERE if you’re interested in donating your time and talent to this important cause — sides will be made available before the audition and hard copies will be provided on the premises. No memorization will be required to perform in this production. Let me know if you have questions, and hope to see you!

2) ROB BREZSNY’S FREE WILL ASTROLOGY NEWSLETTER

A friend turned me on to this brilliant piece of writing a few years ago. Yes, it’s got great astrological insights, but the crazy, imaginative way Rob puts words together is what make it so compelling and fun to read. Here’s an example: “I invite you to conspire with me to puncture, fracture, and shred the iron curtain between The Ordinary Real World and The Other Real World? Will you collude and connive with me to thwart the genocide of the imagination? Do you promise to plot and scheme with me to defrock and excommunicate and depose the priests of fundamentalist materialism?” Fascinating, right?! You can subscribe to his newsletter HERE, and check out all of his work by clicking on the graphic.

3) THE JOY LIST W/JILLIAN RICHARDSON

This chock-full newsletter is especially designed to get you out of your cocoon and connecting with other people in meaningful ways. Jillian’s mission is to combat loneliness and she started The Joy List as a resource for people to find NYC-based events that they can go to by themselves, and leave with a new friend. And with the pandemic, she now highlights virtual events as well so you don’t have to be NYC-based (another one of those weird benefits of these Covid times). Check it out & go meet some new folks!

4) SOHARMONIUMS WOMEN’S CHORUS

Singing is one of those things that ALWAYS brings me joy without fail… well that, and my granddaughters! If it’s one of your joy pills, too, consider joining us – we have openings for a few new songbirds right now. I’ve been singing with them for 11 years now and after a year of Zoom rehearsals and two amazing virtual concerts, we’re planning to be LIVE on December 18th. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the Music Director. Rehearsals start on September 23rd — you can participate in person in NYC (with strict Covid protocols) or via Zoom. It would be wonderful to sing with you!

5) NYCNEXT’S NEW YORK STATE OF MIND MUSIC VIDEO

This just lifts my spirits every time I watch it… and I guarantee you don’t have to live here to be moved by it! The organization NYCNext is dedicated to building New York City into a more equitable place for all. This luscious video with NYC actors, singers, musicians, and late night hosts coming together for Billy Joel’s classic song, is offered especially to encourage the city’s recovery from the pandemic and drive civic engagement. Enjoy… and get ready for some happy tears!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of JOY-full offerings to sustain you when the wounds of the world — or maybe your own heart — feel particularly tender. And I’m always here for hugs, virtual and LIVE!