In this final section of the Joyality Program you will learn ways to connect with nature, and find a stillness within yourself, no matter where you are or what you are doing. Then, by embracing the mythical realm, you will practise your new abilities to “sustain the gaze”, hold all the “good” and “bad” things happening in the world within you at the same time, and still be able to maintain your passion and positive vision for the future. You will also learn some skills to channel the positive visions and empowerment you have built throughout this program into compassionate and effective action, not just on an individual and community level, but on the larger scale of our society, economy, and mainstream culture. Take some steps into the corridors of power!
It is easy to connect with nature, to find a sense of Joyality, when you are in a beautiful natural environment far away from the craziness and noise of your everyday life, out of cell service, taking a break. However, as we explored earlier, nature isn’t just “out there”, it’s not just trees or flowers or the Grand Canyon or Tasmanian wilderness. Nature is also inside of you, it’s your bones and your blood and your breath and your soul. You are nature no matter where you are or what you are doing. You carry it with you!
The Elemental Being meditation introduced you to exploring the nature within yourself (Joyality 201). We encourage you to return to this exercise whenever you need help reconnecting with the elements of nature in your body. There are some other ways, as well, to sustain this sense of connection.
** Try this: Connect with Nature Wherever You Are (Connect!) 30mins plus travel
It is important to trace and understand the roots of everything around us. It helps us feel connected and realize that nature is all around us all the time, even in our cars, our dorm rooms, our apartments. However, the process of lifecycle analysis can also bring up some “negative” feelings as many of the resources from which products come are depleting and many of the people whose hands have touched them are hungry and poor.
One of the great challenges of being a human being, of having the unique and incredible capacity that we do to think, feel, understand, and connect, is being able to hold the wonder of life in one hand and the pain of it in the other and keep your head from exploding. It is hard sometimes to comprehend how life can be so glorious, so full of joy and wonder, and at the same time be so heartbreaking, so painful, so unfair. How can these two realities exist at the same time? Being able to hold this question, to accept that it is one we may never be able to truly answer, is what we call “sustaining the gaze”. It is the ability to look directly into the eyes of life, see both the pain and the joy they hold, and not sink into denial or nihilism but carry on doing the very best you can for the world with what you have. This is what we believe it means to be a super hero.
Try this: You Are … Your Very Own Super Hero (Stay Awake!) 15mins
Our social world is made up of categories, labels, and often judgements. Many of us are likely engaged in a balancing act between “fitting in” and “standing out”, between our desire to be our full true, unabashed selves and our fear of being judged by others.
Being deeply passionate about something, and acting in ways that differ from the ‘norm’, can sometimes set us apart from the crowd in an uncomfortable way. There are social stigmas that often come with labels such as “radical” and “activist”. Some of us may feel totally comfortable with these titles, while others may not resonate or wish to be identified with them.
In this next practice, we invite you to investigate and reframe these labels in a way that is more helpful to you, and even come up with some new labels that you resonate with.
Try this: Reframing “Radical” and “Activist” (Stay Awake!) 15mins
“To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.”
– Raymond Williams
So, armed with your sense of connection with nature, your ‘special powers’, and a new acceptance of any labels that might be projected onto you, we hope that you are ready to take some new steps forward towards creating the world we know is possible. Like the Shambhala Warriors armed with the ‘weapons’ of compassion and insight into the interconnectedness of all things (Joyality 301), perhaps you are ready to enter the corridors of power where decisions are made. Ready to engage with the decision-makers, assisting them in the processes of deconstructing the systems that “lay waste our world”, and creating the social, economic and cultural systems that make a safer, fairer, more joyful ecological future for the planet! Here at Joyality, we believe you are ready to practise clear, respectful and compassionate communication to bring this about …
Try this: In the Tiger’s Mouth: Stepping Up for Change (Act!) 45mins
Congratulations! You have now completed the final process of the Joyality Program before the final reflection session! We hope that you are feeling empowered and excited by your very own potential to make powerful changes in the world, whether or not you apply them straight away towards your passion action … although we hope you do! 😀
You now have a whole heap of tools that will be useful for accessing that pot of joy, through connecting with nature, each other and deep within yourself. We know that you will have realised by now that “you are not alone” in your desire to make a more beautiful world … and that you are part of a huge movement around the world right now doing just that. You are an important part of life affirming life … playing your unique role in conscious evolution.
“If you are doing the right thing for the Earth, she is giving you good company.”
– Vandana Shiva
In preparation for your circle this week please write a short description of your Passion Action and upload a picture of yourself to our private facebook group Our Joyality Circle (for Joyality participants only). This is intended to be a fun activity to help you actualize your unique Passion Action in the world, so enjoy!
** DO THIS: Passion Action Pitch (Act!) 15min
Your Joyality friends are looking forward to celebrating and supporting your initiative. Go for it!