The Superpowers of Joy & Complaining
I wonder what’s bringing you joy these days and if you are giving yourself permission to experience joy when the occasion arises.
For me, dance fitness classes reliably evoke joy. I swing my limbs, "move my boombsey" (as says Coach Kuks, the founder of Kukuwa Fitness, one of my new favorite classes), and shake loose stuck emotions maybe once or twice a week — not too often since these classes can be intense and my precious energy resources feel easily depleted these days. Maybe you can relate to that feeling. Another major joy-generator is Pony Sweat which I started doing in-person when in lived in Los Angeles and now get down with in my ever-warming garage. I find it to be life-affirming, liberating, subversive, and wildly fun. I miss the in-person dance experience (which one fellow Zumba fan described as “attachment therapy in Spandex”), but there’s also freedom in taking up as much space as possible with no mirrors in sight.
Something else that brings me joy these days is that after years of failing to produce a single viable seedling from my seed-starting attempts (the elaborateness of my attempts grew in proportion to my frustration — I even gave cold stratifying a whirl), I now have rows of sweet little shoots popping up thanks to the hungry, hardworking worms in my vermiculture tower. The seedlings are thriving in this nutrient-rich vermicompost and I like to think they appreciate the homemade nature of it.
A very silly movie I watched recently posited that we develop good instincts by making mistakes. If this is true, I am developing very good gardening instincts and may eventually become a world-class baker.
If you need some fuel (or permission) to rev your joy engine, I recommend these articles from “solutions journalism” outlet Yes! Magazine.
How To Find Joy (Even in 2020)
When Savoring a Pleasant Moment is a Radical Act
The Generative Power of Complaining
Complaining tends to get a bad rap. When we hear the word, how often do we think of Debbie Downer rather than Alexander Graham Bell? Now, I can’t claim to be privy to the internal dynamics that led to the creation of the telephone (in fact, this is a very tenuous thread I’m weaving), but I imagine a good deal of complaining was involved. Complaining not only releases the emotional pressure valve that keeps us from spontaneously combusting, but when we allow ourselves to air our discontent and consider its source, complaints can become the raw material that fuels creative solutions. One such example is my upcoming workshop Process the Pandemic: Between the World & Us which arose from some very vociferous kvetching. My concern (that’s a polite complaint) was that we would pop out of this pandemic like greased prairie dogs and never look back, missing the opportunity to gain wisdom, healing, and innovation from this time. My fear (an urgent complaint) was that the momentous events of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic would lodge like a splinter in our collective consciousness to become a wound like so many other painful events in our shared history. We deserve to take the time to witness where we’ve been, where we are, so that we can heal and choose how we proceed from a place of informed power. When our beloved yoga and community center Luma closed in mid-February due to the strain of the pandemic, my fellow yoga teachers, integrative healthcare practitioners, and I had something to say about that, so in response we formed The Loom Collective. Which brings me finally to... The Loom Presents: Process the Pandemic A Workshop Series The first in this series is Between the World & Us, facilitated by me, Zoë Kosovic. Here is what it is about:
History tends to highlight events over the people affected by these events. In 2020, a lot of history certainly happened to us, but we will know this history because we lived it with our bodies, minds, and hearts. Through short, stream-of-consciousness writing prompts, this workshop will compassionately guide you through a reflection on the past year and the Covid-19 pandemic so that you take its lessons with you, appreciating the richness of your experience and growing from having lived through this unprecedented time.
Between the World and Us will focus on relationships: to ourselves, time and how we use it, health, loved ones, community, society, the systems that shape our world, and the Earth itself. Through guided writing prompts within this 2-hour container of accountability, you will gain the chance to witness yourself, your life, and your place within the whole. We will look back so that we can move forward with wisdom and resilience.
We will ease into the process and be radically courageous and radically kind to ourselves as we remember the ups, downs, and in-betweens of this time. The questions posed will range from silly and lighthearted to deeply stirring and illuminating. Upon completion, you will have created a historical artifact that is both completely unique to you and an inextricable part of the collective experience.
While we can rarely control the events that happen to us, by remembering what has happened before, we are better able shape what happens next.
Access the self-guided workshop for free: