17 March 2013

How to Conjure Up Joy in Sad Times

Joy, by Jacqueline Joy Lawson *
(used with permission)
Some weeks, I know so clearly what I want to blog about that I write my post on Saturday night. (I know, I know, I lead a pretty boring life if that's what excites me on a Saturday night!) 

Other weeks, I wake up Sunday morning without a clue. The week has been hectic and/or stressful and blogging about compassionate action on climate change is the furthest thing from my mind. 

This was one of those weeks. We're heading into spring break and I'm a teacher, so I had to finish report cards (I call them Celebrations of Learning). I was busily involved in organizing a fundraiser for our Art & Nature program for kids (thanks to everyone who contributed). Work was super hectic (I was given the opportunity to present my Climate Reality slide show, Whacky Weather, Food Fragility and Compassionate Climate Action, to my local board of school trustees). And family health issues are weighing heavily again.

So a burden was lifted this morning when I discovered two quotes waiting for me in my inbox, both of which are well worth sharing with you today:
Every human has four endowments: self awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom ... the power to choose, to respond, to change. — Stephen Covey 
Where we are most joyful is often the place from which we can best heal what is hurting in the world.
— Howard Friend

I view problem solving through a "What and How" lens. Covey's quote gives us a clear What. We must – and can, given the four endowments he lists – choose to respond to change. Okay, I've removed a bit of punctuation and maybe changed the meaning of his quote a little. (I take support wherever I can find it.) But even if we leave the commas in, Covey is still saying we have a power that a lot of people don't believe they possess. And I'm saying that we can use that power to create change in the world.

Friend's quote offers us a wonderful How. Each us of can name a time, or a place, or an activity that makes us most joyful. That's where we can focus our power. That's when we feel (and actually are) our most powerful. That's what we can focus on doing to help respond to what's happening to our children's future.

Let me give you an example. I'm not much of a fundraiser, I don't like paperwork, I don't have an inventor's bone in my body, and I still don't understand electricity. So I'm not going to effect change very effectively by trying to raise funds, nor by working in an NGO's office, nor by inventing a new form of energy storage to make renewable energy technologies more efficient. But I LOVE teaching, giving presentations, offering workshops, and facilitating multi-stakeholder roundtable sessions. That's where and when I am "most joyful" and therefore that's how I, personally, can "best heal what is hurting in the world."

So what juices you? Not everyone's joyful place will directly help to refreeze the Arctic, but if doing what you love can contribute, even in some small way, to making the world a better place, then I entreat you to seize, to wield, your power "to choose, to respond, to change."

* If you've forgotten what joy is all about (see my post When Lack of Hope Meets Self-Doubt), please visit Joyful on Purpose. Jacqueline Joy Lawson is helping people find joy "in every little thing." And that's no small thing!

1 comment:

I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?