Given the inhumane conditions in which we are asked to use our imaginations while surviving, we chose to first say: "I am capable of joy." Yes, trauma created our one shared identity as "those whose safety is perpetually at risk", yet we are so much more, capable of so much more. The future demands that we understand now our own ability to hold and grow. Therefore, let's celebrate ourselves: Who better to lead us into the future than those who know both suffering AND joy? Join us.
November 2, 2021 Learning by Julia
With our land acknowledgment, we remember our part in the design: our very bodies are designed for connection. Our hands clasp with perfect measure, our hearts touch in synchrony as we embrace. We are connected to each other, and the earth. And what a source of joy, this earth, and each other.
Sometimes definitions of simple words, through life, become default such as "joy". We read poetry (Hafiz, "Tired of Speaking Sweetly"). We remember music (Beethoven's 9th Symphony, "Ode to Joy"). We read great thinkers (adrienne maree brown, "Emergent Strategy"). The opportunity for joy is complex, and simple...
We pause long enough to examine again, since we first defined so many years ago, "What is joy exactly? Where does it come from?" In this now, joy feels like borrowed time, relating itself to the ability for spontaneity and openness to taking risks. Go do that thing! Joy is in our bodies; the simple act of appreciating the warmth of the water as we wash our hands, taking shoes off after a journey. Joy is complicated in its simplicity: a chasing of the ecstatic, what is that but simply being fully present? To recognize we can feeeeeel something at any time (miracle!) we invite joy as a form of resistance. We are determined to find joy in grief.
Being called loving names by babies on a difficult day: Joy.
Anita Baker in the car on high blast: Joy.
Dancing and bobbing: Joy.
We return from break to ask, "How will you protect your joy in the coming month?" We shall do what nourishes us, we shall carve out (yes! carve out) time for our spontaneity. We shall not censor ourselves, and. We shall be aware of our environment and not choose suspicion first. We say "unbothered" with a smile; no rent shall be accepted for space not theirs. We acknowledge joy with the same fervor as we do challenge. We shall start our days with reading, quiet, music, dancing in the car, and continue our day with knowing prayer. We follow our intuition and find joy in the simple pleasures: glitter, hearing "Yes, you're absolutely right!", advocating for self, and being ok with not doing anything else but inviting joy. Listen to yourself, you do know joy.
Next month, we invite our intuition to the table, stay in tune.
Joy Labinjo, from the exhibition, "Our histories cling to us" 2019. painting of a Black woman sitting on the lap of a Black man. She's wearing a yellow outfit, and him a cardigan and they both gaze at you, the viewer with smiles. In the background, another person reaches up towards a streamer on the ceiling as they put on their coat. They had fun. http://balticplus.uk/joy-labinjo-our-histories-cling-to-us-e778/
Julia Ismael hosts monthly Listening Circles for the masses as a way to stay informed and to find new and meaningful ways to create connection. Julia is the founder and Head Architect of Aspirations of The Equity Consortium. Monthly Listening Circles are held on the 4th Tuesday of the month, and what is learned from these circles is shared here. Please enjoy our stories.