Each year since 2009 Radical Joy for Hard Times supports worldwide communities to connect with wounded places through the Global Earth Exchange. This is an event that celebrates curiosity, compassion, and generosity of heart and spirit as people offer their gifts of beauty in these wounded places. These events can be with a group of people or solo – ingenuity for expressing beauty is welcome whether it is land art, song, dance or any other personal or communal expression.
I love this practice and find that in the four years I have been participating that the earth, waters, air and all beings have become more alive and personal in my life. I have hosted groups and one year painted my car with Radical Joy Birds as my celebration. This year I did a solo event and here is the story I wrote for the Radical Joy website which really captures my ever-evolving personal relationship with my own homestead.
Never in my life have I rejected nature, particularly the little ecosystems that I’ve lived within. When I moved to my home six years ago, the gas fracking boom was taking off. Now there is a petrochemical plant being built in our community to process the gas byproducts with four more plants planned for the wider region. “Cancer Alley” is our new name.
Even while joining with other activists to protest these events, somehow I also withdrew and closed myself off from the wild life happenings at my homestead. I hardened and closed my heart. This year, I chose to do a solo Earth Exchange, feeling that I HAVE wounded my own eco-home here with my rejection.
I wandered, allowing the wild happenings to call to me–the snakeskin, the dark cool under the pines, the gnat at my ear, shadows, dew drops, the wind! There was nothing for me to do other than allow my heart to be touched. I wasn’t struck by a lightning bolt of wisdom, or hit on the head with a snapping branch of insight. I was gently reminded of the resilience and unjudging stance of nature–She does what She does with or without my attention. But Oh! Maybe my reverence, gratitude and love will be felt by Her, and my heart wants to offer Her those gifts.
How might you celebrate a wounded place you know of? By the way, you don’t have to wait for the annual Global Earth Exchange – you can do this any or every day.