I got an email from fellow teacher, goddess and spiritual leader, Sahara Rose at a heavy point in the world last year. What it said has stuck with me ever since:
“Imagine if in human history we postponed joy, music, dance and love until every problem in the world was fixed.
There would be no such thing as celebration.
The truth is — most of the world still has it way worse than we do. Throughout history.
And they still dance, sing, celebrate and enjoy life more than most of us.
There are Doctors having dance parties in hospitals in Iran and tribes drumming the fears away in Ghana or neighbors cheering each other on in quarantine in Italy.
Imagine if the jazz players gave up in the Great Depression?
Or the Vedic rishis decided not to share about yoga until all battles were resolved?
Or tribes in Zimbabwe decided not to dance + drum until there was no more war?
We’d still be waiting.”
- Sahara Rose
There’s always tragedy. Always something to stress over or be sad about, but there’s also always something to be joyful about.
She asks us, what if JOY was your greatest form of activism, self-care + healing?
Here's a meditation you can use to start inviting joy:
- Eyes open: finding joy around you
- 3 deep breaths (inhale nose, exhale mouth)
- Relax body
- "Where is there joy in my life?"
- Feel it.
- Expand it – Visualize it expanding, overfilling.
- Inhale joy, exhale joy
- "What can I do to experience joy today?"
- Vowing to honor that.
Here are some things you need to commit to to live in this wild world:
1. No news.
If you don't watch the news, you're already steps ahead! Most of us are aware of the bias and unreliability of every single outlet, but what's really the kicker is that these companies are for profit, of course, and what that says about their strategy. Did you notice how whatever is trending (aka will get the most clicks and generate the most revenue for the media source) is all that the media puts out? Go to CNN or Fox right now and look for yourself.
One week it's the end of the world because of COVID, the next it's the end of the world because of Ukraine and there's not a lick about COVID. Don't you think if these outlets had our true safety, wellbeing and informed knowledge in mind, they'd be a bit more well-rounded? If what was killing us last week just falls off the edge this week, doesn't it seem a bit strange?
The news exchanges drama for clicks. The news feeds on our fear so it can make money. News media has strategically positioned itself to create a false illusion of expertise and protection through information and the lie that by being informed, we have control over external issues at hand: ending wars, solving global pandemics, stopping hurricanes, etc. - all through a lens of bias.
So ask yourself: has watching/reading/consuming the news made you a better person? Helped the problem at hand? Truly? Or can you trust that by living on earth, you can make the best judgment for yourself through non-news-based research, your strong intuition and consulting with diverse opinions and experiences of people you respect of different backgrounds? Can you trust that unless you completely live under a rock, you'll be aware of the prominent issues by merely communing with other humans? Can you trust that you are and will be drawn to help the big or even more obscure topics that truly light a passion for you? Can you trust that all of us can only truly help by shining our light in our individual ways and making space to recharge and redirect to what really matters to us? Can you trust that if it's animal rights for you, slave labor for your friend, global warming for your brother, body issues for your sister, equality and racial justice for your coworker, and aid for refugees for your neighbor, there's a natural community of support for each and every issue if we let the good of all people exist and flow?
Call me privileged, call me ignorant, call me whatever the frick you want: I won't and don't watch the news. I refuse to allow a business to fearmonger for their pretty pennies. And that's something I swear by.
2. No complaining.
I committed to this for 30 days and there were moments where I thought I would implode. I realized how often I jumped to talking about the terrible state of the government, the weather, the traffic, the parking, the food, the people who were driving me crazy in my life. Apparently we complain between 15 and 30 times per day. Imagine if we found gratitude that often? Laughed that often? Helped someone in need that often? The ancient yogis believed that complaining sucks 30% of your energy every time you do it. Complaining is an immediate drain for you and everyone that leaves you living in and searching for the dumps.
3. Find the good.
With all that new time you've freed up between no longer engaging with news media and no longer complaining all day, you can replace those habits with some positive self-inquiry. Ask yourself frequently: what's going well in the world? Or what's going well in my life? Notice random acts of kindness. Heck, commit them yourself! You'll have exchanged your doomsday glasses for some clear, bright and lovely ones that pick up on the moment someone held the door for an old man at the grocery store, the smile the young woman gave you from her car at the light, the heart a teen drew in chalk on the sidewalk, and the giggles of the kids on the swings at the park next door.
If you're going to be on social media, unfollow all those grimy news accounts and follow something like @goodnews_movement instead for inspiration around the globe. It may take some time to generate those good news, positivity engines, but make an effort to start them up daily.
There's always something shitty going on in the world. At every second. Every moment. Sometimes it's more broadcasted or prominent than others, but it's happening.
But you know what else? So is joy.
There's always good.
Help where you can, but don't live in the pain. It doesn't help anyone.
Focus on the good.
There's always, always good.