Thanks, Episode 82 of Turning Towards Life

Even in the darkest of situations can we find a way to be joyful? Is there a kind of gratitude which isn’t a turning away from the gravity of things? Might just this joy and gratitude be what’s called for if we’re to face our situation with sufficient energy, creativity and ethical care? A conversation about not turning away with Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

Here’s Episode 82 of Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living.

Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify.

In this conversation we talk together about how it might be possible to face the darkness and difficulties of the world without collapsing into a frozen fearfulness, without cutting ourselves off from others through panic and rage, and without denial. We consider the ways in which the culture many of us have grown up in teaches us always to be dissatisfied, to live our lives as if we’ll only be able to show up when we have exactly the circumstances we think are due to us, and how this keeps us distant from the possibility of contributing to improving things. We talk together about how joy can connect us and those around us to the qualities and creativity the world needs so much, and how it might be possible to be joyful even in the midst of the deepest darkness.

As ever we are grateful for the wisdom and depth of those whose writing is at the heart of this project, and particularly this week for this poem by W S Merwin, who died last month at the age of 91. You can read more about him and his work in this article in The Atlantic.

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is

by W S Merwin

Photo by James Padolsey on Unsplash