I used to think that in order to be an activist, someone who is fighting for something, that I had to be unhappy. And, I have to admit, there are lots of things that happen in this world that I am unhappy about. But these days I take action to defend my own little slice of strawberry goodness – my own happiness and the happiness of those around me.
There are a few things that make me happy. Nature is one of them. Right now I can hear the wind whipping across the heather and willow, and bog. The clouds dance, playing peekaboo with the sun and the pheasants make their strange cluck scream. These small yet mighty things bring me always back to the present moment, back to a sense of beauty and deep wildness that cannot be contained by the domestic process. Nature keeps me feeling alive, and happy.
Movement is another. My body likes to dance, to move, to express. Whether it is Afro Brazilian dance in Seattle or Set Dancing here in Ireland. In fact, I had a great dance the other night. My friends and I crashed a wedding reception at the Tin Pub on Saturday and I had a dance with Miss Sheila Ellis (who caught the bouquet). She is a fabulous dancer. She and a woman named Elaine traded me off for about fifteen minutes to the sounds of 1960’s America played by Irish musicians. After dancing, my heart beat strongly in my chest, my breath was short, and I was glowing. Dancing makes me happy.
And then there is music. I love listening to, participating in, and appreciating music. Whether it’s hip hop or old Irish songs, I’m there. The more I sing and play, the better it gets. These things, nature, movement, and music are my holy trinity. They give life to this body I live in and hope for the future. I know some activists out there don’t like the word hope, but if it truly means to desire with expectation of attainment then I don’t see what’s so bad about that. If you don’t believe you’re going to save the world or the buffalo or your own life then what is the point?
Jake Swamp, of the Mohawk nation in the Iroquois Confederacy, passed away in November 2010. He was a good man and spent his life spreading peace across the world. Jake is the one who taught me about giving thanks and what strong medicine it is for a world that is falling to pieces. The Thanksgiving Address is used by the Iroquois to bring their minds together before a meeting or gathering and honors all aspects of creation. It is a powerful tool for exploration and the cultivation of happiness. The TGA saved my life a couple of years ago, it really did. Like I said, strong medicine.
Below are some pictures of what happiness looks like, in case you’ve forgotten.
So, what are you thankful for? What makes you happy? What are you an activist for? And tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?