Radical Joy Revealed
October 5, 2016

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. 

How do we respond to what breaks our heart? Do we turn away as quickly as possible? Do we plunge in and do whatever we can to help? Do we feel powerless to act, yet find that we can't get the images of that sad image or story out of our mind?

We've all responded many times in each of those ways.  

The video above is about a man who ran a small garden center in the Syrian city of Aleppo, which has been under assault by Syrian president Assad and his Russian allies for more than three months.

The flower-seller, Abu Wad, explains that he tries to see the bombs as music by Beethoven, that all people are ordinary citizens, and that he is committed to planting flowers wherever he can to counter the destruction and cheer the traumatized citizens.

The video also shows Abu Wad's thirteen-year-old son, Ibrahim, lovingly helping his father.

But the garden center was destroyed by a bomb, Abu Wad is dead, and Ibrahim mourns his father. 
To watch this video is to feel gratitude, sorrow, relief, pity, compassion, admiration, heartbreak, and more. 
In a previous Radical Joy Revealed, we described the Tibetan Buddhist practice of tonglen, in which one breathes in the sorrow and fear of another and breathes out to that person or people peace, compassion, and love. A wise teacher has pointed out that this practice is just that--a practice. You don't just breathe in and out once and say you're done. You inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale, one breath at a time.

It's hard to watch this video. But please do watch it. Watch it with all the emotions you yourself, and only you, can bring to it. Be open to them all. And then, when the last image has faded, try breathing in the tragedy of this and so many other families in Syria. And breathe out your own kind of comfort. 
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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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