Radical Joy Revealed
December 31, 2014
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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places. We hope you'll enjoy these doorways into places that are both familiar and surprising, and we welcome your suggestions, stories, and photos. Click here to subscribe.


Breathe Out Joy   

Goddess of compassion statue
Kuan Yin, Buddhist goddess of compassion, Penang, Malaysia

 

As we say goodbye to the old year, we cannot help but recall the sorrows of the months past and long for the future to be better. Radical Joy for Hard Times is devoted to seeking ways to hold the sorrowful and the joyful, the suffering and the celebratory in balance, for both are always part of our lives and our surroundings.

 

A practice of Tibetan Buddhism called tonglen is one way of cultivating this kind of balance. In simplest terms, tonglen entails taking sorrow into ourselves and sending out relief.

 

Breathing in, we focus on a person or group of people who is suffering, and we voluntarily bring into ourselves the willingness to share that pain for the space of half a breath. As we do so, we feel the armor we've put up to protect ourselves melting away. Ah! It turns out that our hearts are much wider and more expansive than we had imagined!  

 

Now it's time for the exhalation. With the out-breath, we offer relief and spaciousness to that same sufferer . We breathe out health, a bouquet of flowers, fresh air, a smile, love. 

 

Writing of the practice of tonglen, the venerable Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön says, "At the relative level, our noble heart is felt as kinship with all beings. At the absolute level, we experience it as groundlessness or open space."

 

From everyone at Radical Joy for Hard Times we wish you a year of finding beauty in all your experiences, every day.

 
To discover other stories of inspiring people, stories, photos, and ideas, subscribe to Radical Joy Revealed.
 
See How the World Made Beauty
for the Earth

On June 20 people around the world will go to wounded places to share their stories of what the places mean to them, spend time getting to know the places as they are now, and make a simple act of beauty there: a bird created out of materials found on site. Join the world in making beauty for the Earth for the 6th annual Global Earth Exchange.

To see the photos of the 2014 Global Earth Exchange, visit our website. To read the stories click on the little "pins" on our world map.
Radical Joy for Hard Times is a global community dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Reconnecting with these places, sharing our stories of loss and despair, and making acts of beauty there, we transform the land, reconnect people and the places that nourish them, and empower ourselves to make a difference in the way we live on Earth.
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