Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Befriending Our Pain, Having Courage, Loving the World

Joanna Macy continues to blow my mind, saying things I've been trying to say but doing so out of more patience, wisdom, forgiveness, and lived life.

"We need to befriend our pain about the condition of the world, and not treat that feeling as an enemy to our cheerfulness... Tell me your despair and I'll tell you mine... and the world becomes more vivid... because we had the courage, the strength to speak of our despair... because we speak it we don't stay there.... despair is the covering for the love of our world [that we need to crack].... don't be afraid of pain or the world's suffering... and if you aren't afraid of it then nothing can stop you." Full vid here.

I have long been angry with those who tell me to be happy, or look at the happy side of things, as if pain is not as worthy an emotion, as if it also does not open doors to happiness -- perhaps in some ways a more profound and connected happiness than the somewhat antiseptic version our American myths push on us (consumerism and possession for one). 

Certainly, I'm not making light of those who struggle with real depression and succumb to it, but I am saying that for the majority of us pain, anger, and despair let us know we are alive and that we care -- these "negative" feelings alert us to something that is wrong and open the door to compassion for all life. The bonds we break, the emotions we ignore, divorce us from the awesome beauty and connectivity of life on this rare world.  Be angry about oil pipelines and prairie destruction. Be forlorn about the loss of pollinators and coral reefs. Be so sad you know this world from every angle and can, on the flip side, make a profound difference and heal. 

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