“Perhaps the most radical act of resistance in the face of adversity is to live joyfully.”
~ Ari Honarvar
Unlike happiness, which depends on external circumstances, joy is an expression of our connection with each other and with the world. All of the explorations in the “Nourishing Our Nature” practice have helped open us up to joy: by looking up and out, rooting into the earth, tuning into the magic of our surroundings, using all of our senses, and engaging with intention.
Whatever it is we’re doing, joy means we are saying an embodied YES to life as it presents itself. Things don’t need to be perfect in order to feel joy; we only need to be aware of the miracle that it is to be alive on this blue-green planet with others whom we love. This is wonder encapsulated: letting the mystery and the marvel of the world seep in until it opens us from the inside.
Invitation for Practice
Find some quiet time to reflect on these questions, or explore them in community with others:
- What helps you cultivate a deeper, more ever-present intimacy with the natural world?
- What rituals might help you honor the wonder of the season with joy?
- How might you joyfully give back to the Earth some of the beauty and gifts it offers you at every turn?
- How could you engage in what author adrienne maree brown calls “pleasure activism”? In other words, where can your deep gladness meet the world’s needs and nourish the Earth with joy?
We invite you to share your reflections in the space below the author bio.
Enjoy the full seven-day Nourishing Our Nature practice.
Fabiana Fondevila is a writer and teacher from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her latest book, “Where Wonder Lives: Practices for Cultivating the Sacred in Your Daily Life” was published in February 2021. Fabiana teaches online workshops and seminars on living a life of awe and radical aliveness. You can learn more about her offerings at FabianaFondevila.com. She is also a founding member of Vivir Agradecidos, our organizational partner in Argentina.
Image by Julian Paolo/Unsplash
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Thank you Fabiana for offering this series 🙂
Seems like joy is both a gift for the individual, and for those around them 🙂
Definitely, these sessions have made more focused into Nature…..trees, clouds, rain, flowers, sea animals….and many more.
What a joy and delight I have experienced.!
I have found a beautiful company…Nature!!!
This morning, when I was waiting for an appt. , I looked at the sky and the clouds , and the beauty on the one I focused was magnificent!..shape, colors, lenght, width, movement….
Thanks, Fabiana for leading me to have such an abundant and joyful experience.!!!
After a morning walk, I sit in my garden and watch the butterflies and bees, listen to the birds and soak in the presence of all the living subjects around me. This sets the tone or the day and keeps me grounded and in a state of wonder.
Everything is a Mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved in nature.
Walking down to the lake, smelling the fresh air, listening to the birds, this is heaven to me.
I am learning to ‘be’ rather than to ‘practice’ – if I ‘am’ joy – then no matter what I say or write or do will give joy to others and to the world.
I have just recently come to that same realization. Thank you for sharing. B
I think we need to be cautious here. In my long life I’ve experienced tragedy, catastrophe, panic and misery, and it has not been my experience that joy is impervious to such grievous adversity. Surely joy, like happiness, may depend on external circumstances, and to suggest otherwise feels to me like a Pollyanna approach. Looking at the quotation from Ari Honarvar, I cannot imagine that the radical resistance of Afghans against Taliban oppression encompasses joyful living. Sometimes ‘Saying Yes to Life’ means clinging to life at all costs, an act of consummate courage. Joy is a wonderful state of mind when we experience it, and we’re richly blessed if we cultivate it whenever we can, yet there are times in life when it may completely elude us.
I was just now listening to a video of Anita Moorjani answering a question about how one can heal from physical, mental, emotional, spiritual trauma. 1) Acceptance of what is or what happened 2) Finding Peace with what is or what happened 3) Being Grateful for any Blessings in our life (despite what is going on or has gone on in the past) 4) Finding Joy in all the thing which make us feel Grateful 5) Feeling Love for who we are. The way I understand Joy is that we do not feel Joy for what has happened that might be negative – but we feel Joy for all the other Blessings we have in our life that are helping us to cope with whatever is negative in our life. I hope this helps in some way.
Thank you, Christopher, for pointing out that “Sometimes ‘Saying Yes to Life’ means clinging to life at all costs, an act of consummate courage” and that there are “times in life when [joy] may completely elude us.” We appreciate your cautioning against a Pollyanna approach to life and its frequently, and current, harsh realities. We offer the article from which we borrowed Ari Honarvar’s words in the hope that it adds greater context. Thank you again for your clear and compassionate voice in this space. https://gratefulness.org/blog/when-savoring-a-pleasant-moment-is-a-radical-act/ ~ Saoirse (On behalf of the Gratefulness Team)
Christopher, I agree with you. There are situations of overwhelming damage and grievous injury that don’t allow an immediate response of joy. I think that many of us are speaking from places of privilege in that we have sufficient food, shelter, and basic safety and security. Most of us have not been caught up in a war or terrible natural disaster such as that now affecting Haiti. We don’t have to worry about our sisters being tortured, raped, killed. And yet, a daily practice of gratefulness does ultimately bring us through, no matter what, I do believe. At some point, maybe Psalm 30 :5b may have some meaning: Weeping may linger for the night; but joy comes with the morning.
Thank you so much, Sue, for taking time to reply so helpfully. I’m deeply grateful for your words from Psalm 50 which uplift me. Sometimes the morning may take a very long time to come, yet in my experience dawn eventually follows night. I’ve learned to be wary of sugar-coated responses to harrowing adversity, and at the top of my list is the most frequently quoted sentence from the medieval mystic Julian of Norwich, ‘All shall be well’, which does us no favours when glibly repeated. In my understanding of this maxim, Julian is not offering a soothing balm assuring us that everything will turn out all right in the end or that the disturbances in our lives are simply trivial. Instead I take her words as a promise that, whatever suffering comes our way, God holds us in love and God’s ultimate purpose in creation will never be defeated.
I love the question:
“ where can your deep gladness meet the world’s needs and nourish the Earth with joy?” I have heard it stated that way before.
The answer seems to be a lifelong process
Then I looked up “adrienne maree brown”.
Just wow! I will be exploring her and her writing further. Thanks!
And thanks for a lovely week. 🙏