Your dreams of a world filled with love and belonging are brave. Despite swimming against a tide of fear, desperation, suffering and loneliness, you continue to imagine better worlds where we all feel the wonder and joy of being alive on this messy, beautiful planet.
Our conditioning makes us feel we must earn the right to belong
The conditioning we've endured over the years can make us feel that we must earn the right to experience belonging and, at the same time suppress feelings of loss, sadness, and grief. We're made to believe that we must prove our worthiness to experience joy, love, and connection.
So when you step outside and fill your life with roots and mud, birdsong and water, rocks and fungi, prickly grass and buzzing insects, drifting clouds and wildflower seeds…
…when you go outside and dare to swim alongside loss and grief and allow yourself to feel all the feelings, to be complete and wholly yourself with all the contradictions, your inner conditioning creeps in –
How dare I spend my time like this when others can't? How dare I appreciate these gifts around me when there are people suffering? How entitled! How selfish!
What purpose does denying ourselves joy serve?
Perhaps it would help to imagine the gifts of the earth like this: If a child you know wanted to show you a picture she had created with her whole heart, would you deny yourself the joy, love and connection of receiving it because suffering exists in the world? What purpose does that serve?
Similarly, what kind of world are we creating when we deny ourselves the daily gifts of the sun, the air, the earth, and our loved ones? Does it not reinforce the narrative of unworthiness that we are constantly fed?
Joy disrupts the status quo and is political in its nature
Moments of joy and wonder keep us going - they disrupt the status quo and offer alternative ways of living and being on this earth.
Imagine, on your way to work, noticing a Blackbird with her beak full of grasses. In that moment, your worries are disrupted and you become part of her story, or perhaps she becomes part of yours. You imagine her cozy nest, the courage she has by laying her precious eggs in that beautiful construction, hidden in the ivy, trusting it will provide safety through the wind, rain, sun, and scarcity of insects.
But if you hadn't been open to receiving the gift seeing the Blackbird, would you have noticed? Would your day have been disrupted from the feeling that you haven't yet done enough/achieved enough/cared enough? Would you have been reminded that you are part of something far greater than constantly proving you deserve to exist?
As Minna Salami beautifully expressed in her book 'Sensuous Knowledge':
"By joy…I'm referring to an inner quality that is itself political in nature. By joy, I mean the type of emotion that may emerge if you had a near-death experience but survived, because to thrive under a system of oppression requires such intentionality...I mean, being yourself even if it clashes with the approved perceptions of how you should be. I mean ease and lightness of being."
Is it really time or could the belief run deeper?
You are already doing so much simply by waking up each day and dismantling the internalised story of the dominant culture – patriarchy, white supremacy, colonial capitalism – and daring to believe in and act upon the possibility of another way.
So courageous one, when you tell yourself that you don't have time to be outside, could the belief run deeper? Have you been conditioned to view it as being selfish?