Grief and Beauty in the Wake of Disaster with Trebbe Johnson
When the places we love are devastated by human interaction, natural disaster or a combination of the two, it feels devastating and overwhelming. How do we cope? We can mourn what we’ve lost and say goodbye. We can donate money or call our congressional representatives, or we can ignore the damage entirely. However, we can also discover hope, and even beauty, in what remains. Author and Activist, Trebbe Johnson, suggests that the creation of art, ritual and even joy to honor these lost or “wounded” places is not just possible, but is in fact crucial to our collective healing.
On today’s episode:
What “All Things Connected” means to Trebbe 3:40
Grief and beauty 6:15
Radical Joy for Hard Times 9:40
Waste is an orphan 13:50
Wounded places 16:45
We hurt when the Earth hurts 23:00
What does it mean when we care? 30:00
The gaze 35:05
The gift of beauty 38:55
Creating hope and joy 42:30
What can I do to help? 49:40
Trebbe Johnson is an author and frequent speaker on the relationship between people and nature. Her previous books are The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty, and she has won many awards, including the John Masefield Award from the Poetry Society of America and a Telly Award for a video made for the UN on the 20th anniversary of Earth Day. She has led workshops, retreats, and rites of passage programs internationally since 1995, such as a retreat in an old-growth clear-cut forest, a ceremony at Ground Zero after September 11, and a walk in weapons testing grounds at Eglin Air Force Base. In 2009, Johnson founded the non-profit organization Radical Joy for Hard Times, dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. She regularly speaks at a variety of events, from the Stephens College Commencement to the Parliament of the World’s Religions to the Sierra Club. Johnson is a contributing editor at Parabola Magazine and an active member of the Wilderness Guides Council, the Florence Shelly Stewardship Committee, and SCAN (Susquehanna Clean Air Network). She lives in rural northeastern Pennsylvania.
Discovering Beauty Around, Within, and Always! with Rachel Awes
Have you ever wondered how to simply BE YOU? To discover the innate beauty and magnificence within you? Listen in as Dr. Julie and Rachel Awes invite you to authentically be your fullest self. Imagine being treasured — simply for the rise and fall of your chest, the dreams in your heart, and the distinct YOU — who you miraculously off the world every gloriously messy day!
Rachel Awes works as a psychologist, art playgroundist, and author, who loves listening to the beauty in people and animals and all living colors—and she truly embodies color, as she is also an ambassador for the Swedish clothing company, Gudrun Sjoden. She is currently working on her fourth book, a fiction story about the importance of showing up as yourself in this world, for middle grade readers and for everyone’s inner child. Her prior writing has been nonfiction prose, infused with loads of her colorful drawings, all designed to affirm the human heart. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and tortoises, complete with wild bunnies in her yard, and is a recent evolving nester, with her 19 and 21-year-old college-attending sons, living at home in between semesters and adventures. Her most tender and mighty hope is to hold up a mirror for many, reflecting a hearty truth of your boundless worth. You can see more from Rachel at her website at rachelawes.com and her books and art prints at rachelawes.etsy.com.
“Jules, If I didn’t know you, I would hate you.”
This message was delivered to me almost 30 years ago, at a critical and tender time in my life. It reverberated endlessly, from my fragile ego, to the depths of my soul, and back around my heart. This was a painful and difficult message for an approval-seeking young adult, who worked tirelessly to move beyond the ugly and imperfect obstacles from childhood adversities. I replied, “Seriously? You would HATE me?”
“Yes. You are beautiful and successful. You’re perfect! You have it all. If I didn’t know you, I would hate you!”
Sadly, she really did not know me and all my insecurities. Her words pierced my people-pleasing persona and shattered everything I believed to be true. Beauty and success epitomized the cultural contract we were conditioned to fulfill as super-women. But nobody told me about the part that if, or when, you fulfill the contract, people would hate you. This was a bewildering, sick game: be beautiful, successful and hated, or imperfect, ordinary and never measure up. The pathetic irony in the entire paradigm was I NEVER felt beautiful or successful to begin with — most of us NEVER did.
In spite of the invasive and prominent media-defined images of beauty, women are waking up. No longer will we sit by and watch our daughters be put in anorexic, fashion chic boxes, destined for plastic surgery. Traditional notions of beauty are being shattered. Women no longer want to have our appearance prescribed, nor do we believe it defines who we are. We will not wear a mask that hides our identity and buy the right labels to make us feel worthy and complete. We are re-defining beauty and wearing it proudly as it emanates deep from within our true knowing. As we discover the radiant light of elegance and grace that flows from our core, authentic self-expression is the new glamour. Beauty isn’t something that pleases the eye, but rather an essence that stirs and quickens the soul. Have you re-defined beauty and embraced your mystique?
Macduff Everton said, “There is a difference between pretty and beautiful. Beauty can astonish us. Inspire us. Make us dance. Make us weep. Beauty can be magical. Beauty can transform us. Beauty lets our soul sing. Beauty can have such depth that you don’t even notice at first, or ever.” Live your beauty! Let it shine. Allow you essence to emerge. BE YOU, beautiful!