In These Volatile Times, Spreading Joy is an Act of Resistance

  Saxophones sound better when played spinning around on the floor

Saxophones sound better when played spinning around on the floor

It’s easy to get caught in the collective stress, fear, anger, frustration and pain du jour. It seems that every hour there’s a new serving of negative news, lots of it coming from the seats of power in Washington DC and plenty more traveling across the planet through tragedies of nature, commerce, violence and warfare. If you choose to pay attention, it’s hard not to become affected by the waves of panic, anger and fear and for many it takes a toll on the body.

Emotions are compounding, when you’re down, it’s easy to get caught in a downward spiral that takes you further down and when you’re up, those positive emotions will compound and bring you higher. In my high school physics class I learned the law of inertia, that objects in motion stay in motion unless acted on by an equal or greater opposing force. In my experience, the same is true for emotions. In order to shift negative thoughts and feelings we need to open ourselves to positive emotions and activate their catalysts.

Positive emotions like joy can be catalyzed by art, natural beauty, humor, movement, being amongst community and family, stories, touch, play and just about everything we do.

 

  Clap for joy

Clap for joy

Some people understand how to catalyze positivity and joy in themselves and their communities with ease. These artists are increasingly important to our world as disaster updates ping our attention with increased regularity.

The artists doing work that cultivates and shares joy are activists, even if they’re just offering a smile to a stranger. Their actions, though perhaps unintentionally designed, bring levity, play and light to people and places struggling with darkness. They are the yang to the yin, the balancing force that may not make the news cycle but will bring a gift to your day.

It’s easy to get lost in the vast expanse of causes, petitions, donations, fundraisers, marches and important activism happening in our communities. If you feel helpless or like you haven’t quite maximized your impact, consider these words. What is your gift of joy, your art that can light others up?

We all have something, perhaps it’s your deepest purpose or your simplest hobby, whatever the case, start giving, give as much as you can, the world needs your light now more than ever.

 

 The tennis racquet is a perfectly viable percussion instrument

The tennis racquet is a perfectly viable percussion instrument

Over the last few years I’ve re-discovered my love for creating music and throughout the first half of 2017 I shared my songs in video form every Monday on a platform I called Monday Musics.

Here’s a video I made last year with my good friend and collaborator Daniel Johnson (below and here). We made it to spread joy. If it works feel free to pass it along to your friends, the great thing about living in this moment is that we get to decide what’s important news in our lives.
 


Follow Ethan on Medium for more musings. This blog originally appeared on Medium on May 21, 2018.