Radical Joy Revealed
September 20, 2017

Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places. We hope you'll enjoy these doorways into places that are both familiar and surprising, and we welcome your suggestions, stories, and photos. Click here to subscribe. 

Flowers and candles laid ceremoniously beyond the crematorium at Dachau as part of the pilgrimage, Bringing Light to Darkness. Photo by Trebbe Johnson
When we become willing to face the worst atrocities that humans can inflict on one another, the experience stirs up grief, compassion, and horror. It can also give us the resolve to take personal responsibility to prevent future abominations.
On September 9, a group of 14 people from seven countries, led by Anna Rishin Coffman and RadJoy founder Trebbe Johnson, made a pilgrimage to Dachau, the longest-running of the Nazi concentration camps. "Bringing Light to Darkness" was a pre-conference workshop offered in conjunction with the 7th International Wilderness Guides Gathering in Königsdorf, Germany.
The day-long visit began with an introduction by Nathalie Jacobsen, a scholar who has resolutely studied Nationalsozialismus (Nazism) for 30 years. She explained that that Dachau, which opened in 1933 and closed only when American troops liberated it in 1945, was considered a "model", in the most appalling sense, of how guards should treat prisoners at other concentration camps. Prisoners were expected to confirm to Nazi ideals of cleanliness and order, even though the authorities made sure they remained undernourished, ill, and weak.
The guards themselves could act capriciously. A guard might snatch the cap from a prisoner's head and toss it onto grass the prisoners were forbidden to walk on. If the prisoner refused to pick up the cap when ordered to do so, he would be punished. If he stepped onto the grass in compliance, he would also be punished. Prisoners in the barracks farthest from the kitchen were the last to straggle to the food line and often got nothing to eat. People were tortured, not only directly but through cruel medical experiments.
After the introduction, members of the group were able to spend three hours exploring the camp on their own. They could visit two of the reconstructed barracks and walk over the foundations of more than thirty others, tour the extensive museum, spend time in meditation in Jewish and Christian sanctuaries, and move through the crematorium. After the solo time, people paired up with another member of the group, and each took his or her partner to a part of the camp that had particularly moved them and shared their feelings about it.
Finally everyone gathered again with Nathalie Jacobsen behind the crematorium. There they enacted a ceremony. Each person laid a flower on the ground and lit a candle, and as they did so, they made a prayer or commitment for how they resolved to bring more light into dark places. 

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Upcoming Events from Radical Joy for Hard Times:

October 14
Raise a Glass to the Catskills
Join New Yorkers in raising a glass of pure NYC water to the people and rivers upstate who steward the reservoirs.

October 21, 2:45 PM
Bioneers Conference, San Rafael, CA
A workshop with Polly Howells and Trebbe Johnson, at the annual groundbreaking national conference, about how to ask for guidance from the natural world and absorb the answers you get.

November 17-19
Rowe Center, Rowe, MA
Trebbe Johnson's workshop on how spending time in and making beauty for wounded places can bring clarity, compassion, and healing for our own inner wounds as well. 

It's easy to make beauty anywhere! Here's how!

New from Radical Joy for Hard Times founder
Trebbe Johnson:
a book filled with ideas for creating simple, imaginative, collaborative gifts of beauty for hurt places in nature and in your community! 
To order click here.
Radical Joy for Hard Times is a global community of people dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Reconnecting with these places, sharing our stories of loss, and making acts of beauty there, we transform the land, reconnect people and the places that nourish them, and empower ourselves to make a difference in the way we live on Earth. 
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Each week Radical Joy Revealed comes to you free of charge with inspiring stories and suggestions for living with endangered places in creative, life-affirming ways. It takes thought, imagination, and a sense of timing to uncover and write the stories, choose just the right images to accompany them, and prepare them for distribution, and we could use your financial help. Please show your support of Radical Joy Revealed by making a tax-deductible donation to our non-profit organization.

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