In this section of the Joyality Program you will have the opportunity to acknowledge, fully experience, and honor any so called “negative” feelings you have about what is happening to our planet and all the plants, animals and humans who call it home. You will also learn some tools to help transform the power of those emotions into dynamism and motivation to take action for positive change. As you will be delving deeply into your inner thoughts and feelings, we encourage you to find physical places that make you feel safe and cosy and supported, either in nature or in your home, and make sure that you will not be interrupted or disturbed during the processes in this session.
Now, we’d like to share a story with you that is very dear to our hearts and that we hope will hold you through the process of moving through your emotions and serve as a kind of mythological representation of our time and an inspiration for how we can create change.
**Try this: The Story of the Shambhala Warriors (Stay Awake!) 10mins
Within the context of this heroic journey, we now invite you to explore and experience the “pain of the world” – your so-called “negative” feelings about what is happening to our precious planet. This is an opportunity we do not often have. Our society and culture tells us that we shouldn’t have “negative” emotions, or that if we do, we shouldn’t express them and pretend like everything is okay. Everything is NOT okay, and it is okay to feel that, to say it, to sit with it. We cannot promise your experience will be comfortable, but it will be therapeutic and it will help you transform these emotions from things that are too horrible and overwhelming to even think about into manageable nuggets of passion and power to create a better world. In the next exercise, we use natural symbols to “hold” and nurture ourselves and our emotions in a safe, loving, contained space.
“Should you fear that with this pain your heart might break, remember that the heart that breaks open can hold the whole universe. Your heart is that large. Trust it. Keep breathing.”
– Joanna Macy
**Try this: Dare2Care (Connect!) 30mins
Hopefully, that exercise allowed you to feel and express emotions you may have been avoiding or may not have known how to deal with. The refusal to feel does take a heavy toll, as it takes energy to suppress or ‘push down’ our feelings and thoughts below consciousness, and can also lead to depression as positive feelings are suppressed to the same extent as negative ones. Also, because these feelings and thoughts are part of our innate survival mechanism, telling us that “something is wrong”, we cannot afford such suppression of information at this point in time on planet Earth.
So from now on we hope you will allow yourself to feel and express more of the so called “negative” emotions you experience, and always remember than without fear there is no courage, without anger there is no passion for justice, without sorrow there is no deep caring, and without the emptiness of not knowing what to do there is no space to create entirely new ways of thinking and living.
Try this: Our Evolutionary Journey (Connect!) 20mins
While the idea that all “negative” emotions have a “positive” flip side may be transformative for you, it might also feel a little abstract. While you may understand the what, the how is another issue altogether. Fully experiencing and expressing your negative emotions and understanding their positive flip sides is a first step, and then taking action is crucial to crystallizing their power to create positive change. Taking action gives you a sense of purpose and a place to channel the energy of your emotions. Taking action also has a self-reinforcing effect, enabling you to feel more empowered and energized with each step you take.
Try this: Your Resources (Act!) 30mins
Even when you realize all the power you do actually have to create change, it can still be easy to feel disempowered or like things will never change. However, if we look back at history we see that change is the only thing that is consistent over time. Institutions such as slavery in America and Apartheid in South Africa that at the time seemed completely immovable are now looked back on as dark times in human history, and the people who fought against them, who had dreams of a better world, are hailed as heroes.
Try this: Things DO Change (Act!) 30mins
“There is nothing permanent except change.”
– Heraclitus, 500BC
Although change as a phenomena may be consistent, the rate of change is not always so. It can be scary to see how slowly some things change. People have been fighting for racial justice for hundreds of years, women have been fighting for equal treatment in society for just as long, and the move towards environmental protection has been far too slow.
There is a tipping point with issues, and once that point is reached change begins to happen more rapidly than we previously thought possible. Imagine a glass of water. You put it in the freezer and begin to watch. For a long time, you can detect no changes in the state of the water. Then the glass begins to sweat a little, slowly the water begins to look a little different as its temperature drops, but it is still water, still liquid. Then, all of a sudden, the water reaches its freezing point and, BAM!, it’s ice. This is called discontinuous change. Social change doesn’t happen in nice, equal, manageable increments, but it does happen, and it is our role as human beings to do everything we can to help it along.
“Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.”
– Louis D. Brandeis