Mark Green's Atheopaganism Blog

Living an Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science

Joy Hunt

It’s been a long time.

I mean, a really long time. For many of us, since long before even the pandemic.

Since we strode, or ran, or wheeled, or paddled into the wild, lungs gulping precious air, consumed with The Moment of Aliveness.

Or, being unable to do any of those things, simply witnessed one of the many miracles of life on this exquisite Earth—a sunset or rise, a rainbow, a bolt of lightning, a crashing wave, a moonrise, snow falling, an aurora—and had our breath taken away.

It’s more than a year now since our socialization, our group activities were taken from us.

And I’m writing now to suggest to you—to me—that it’s time.

Not that the pandemic is over. It isn’t. But after a year of fear and isolation, it is time to chase joy.

Yes, we must be safe. Some of us — myself included — are vaccinated now, and I have to say that it feels like an enormous weight has been lifted. But even if you’re not, I recommend a joy hunt: a drive to somewhere beautiful, perhaps, or a socially-distanced walk or trip. I know not all of us are able to do some of the things I am describing, but Nature is so vast — it’s even in your house! — that surely there is some wonder to be found, however limited your range of motion.

Now, a joy hunt doesn’t necessarily have to be for a natural phenomenon; that just happens to be the sort of thing that makes me and many others happy. Is it an activity you love? Something that fell by the wayside as the pandemic ground on? It may feel awkward to do that thing again, but give it a try. Here, after so much time, is a moment when we can emerge as the plants are emerging (in the Northern Hemisphere), and restate our aliveness.

Joy isn’t something that always falls in our laps. Happiness is a muscle; it must be exercised. Even as we use our rituals and our contemplative practices and draw forth our wisdom through personal growth, we must also go to where the Good Feeling is if we want to feel it.

Good hunting!


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