Joy is not in things; it is in us.
– Richard Wagner
I admit that I am often on a media diet – in terms of being a news junkie. This has been true most of my life. I trust that I will get information about what is important and that it is not necessary to listen to a constant barrage of bad news throughout the day. But today as I have hobbled around the kitchen to make lunch (with my healing leg resting on a chair) I turned on NPR and heard the latest news about the impasse regarding raising the debt ceiling.
I wondered, ‘Is it possible to be grounded in joy in the face of further financial disaster?’ Then I remembered hearing Karen Armstrong speak years ago at the 92nd Street Y in NYC. She said that throughout history at times of great change – paradigm shifts – there is always a holding tightly to the old structure, before it evolves. Haven’t you noticed this pattern in your personal life as well?
I do believe we are at a time in history where we are in the midst of a paradigm shift – the evolution of consciousness. From an egocentric point of view of right or wrong, good or bad, winning or losing – to a spiritual based holistic point of view in which there is a conscious recognition of our interconnectedness and interdependence. Where the values of love, compassion and kindness guide our actions.
As I thought about this, rather than adding my anger and discontent aimed at politicians, on both sides of the aisle, who dig their heels into being right and spew their hostility and anger at one another, I had a new thought: I began to appreciate these politicians who are acting out a dying paradigm – one of competition, and greed in which money and an holier than thou point of view takes center stage. And in that moment, I made the choice to be grounded in joy.
This does not mean I am choosing to be an ostrich – rather it is quite different. My commitment to embody the values of love, compassion and kindness were nourished. And once again I said, “Yes,” to Gandhi’s directive, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
I invite you to join me and in the midst of suffering that is present in our world – slaughter in Norway, starvation in Somalia, vicious attacks by politicians toward one another and what seems to be weekly sexual abuse scandals by those who have been entrusted to lead us – put your stake in the ground to say, “Yes,” to joy. Express your love. Share your gifts, talents, skills and abilities and be a beacon of compassion, kindness and cooperation in the world.