Connecting: Joy AND Activism!

A recent podcast from Brene Brown and Karen Walrond illuminates our ingredient of joy.

This weekend I was able to hear an incredible podcast of Brene Brown interviewing Karen Walrond. Walrond is the author of, “The Lightmaker’s Manifesto” and, oh my, does it sound incredible. (To hear the podcast, go here.)  The book explores the relationship between joy and activism. And (big surprise) it resonates deeply with much of our work at the Neighboring Movement. One of our key ingredients of neighboring is joy, and there were many aspects of what Walrond shared that parallel what we often say. For example:
Joy and Happiness are different. Happiness is more temporary in nature, and circumstantial. Joy, on the other hand, comes from a deep sense of being authentic, or true to ourselves. Joy is not impacted by circumstances. In fact, as Walrond puts it, joy “can sometimes abut pain and suffering. But that doesn’t make it any less real.” 

So powerful! 

Another gift I received in listening to Walrond’s description of joy is how it can also extend beyond us. I would say toward the common good. In other words, when we engage in activities that are true to us, AND for a cause bigger than our individual identity, joy flows through us. 

Here is where Walrond’s work also sheds light on neighboring. In the interview, she and Brene discuss the term “activist”. Walrond says, “The root of activism is actus, meaning to act, to do a deed, and so it requires a something, like you’re moved to do something from your values, and it can’t be just to help yourself. It may help a community of which you are a part, but it’s meant to be other facing. It’s supposed to help other people. So yeah, a full action, and nobody says that action has to be gigantic or death defying.”

The action doesn’t have to be gigantic or death defying. It could be meeting one of your neighbors that you don’t know by name. It could be asking a neighbor how they are doing (and listening to their answer). We often don’t think of neighboring as a form of activism, but it is a powerful way to be “other facing” and one of the best ways to strengthen our communities. 

May you find your expression of joyful activism!

What if this front yard bench was the starting point of your activism?
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