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Adrienne Maree Brown On Finding Joy During The Coronavirus Crisis

A pedestrian walks past a mural which reads "Stay at Home, Life is Beautiful" Thursday, April 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)
A pedestrian walks past a mural which reads "Stay at Home, Life is Beautiful" Thursday, April 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)

Finding joy in the midst of overwhelming world events. Celebrating personal triumphs even more than you would before. We’ll talk about why levity may be exactly what we need in a pandemic.


adrienne maree brown, writer and facilitator. Author of “Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good” and “Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds.” (@adriennemaree)

Listen: adrienne maree brown shares a song she’s been singing to deal with grief.

We Put A Call Out To Listeners: ‘How Are You Finding Joy In Difficult Times?’

Here’s How Listeners Responded:

Susan from Lyme, New Hampshire says she’s finding joy in making masks and going outside.

Martin, a cancer survivor, says he’s found a lot of joy in music.

David from Lexington, Massachusetts says that keeping himself ‘open to the fact that there is peace inside me’ helps him experience joy.

Carrie from Baltimore, Maryland says she’s finding joy in supporting local businesses.

Kimberly from Tampa, Florida says she finds joy in connecting with others.

Suzanne from Maplewood, New Jersey says cooking for others brings her joy.

Candace from Slidell, Louisiana says she finds joy in reconnecting with old friends.

Helen from Grinnell, Iowa says her two-year-old golden retriever helps her find joy.

Marie says that as a terminal cancer patient, she finds joy by being present in each moment.

From The Reading List

Excerpt of “Pleasure Activism” By adrienne maree brown 

Excerpted from “Pleasure Activism” by adrienne maree brown © 2020 by AK Press. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher, AK Press. All rights reserved.

The New York Times: “Italians Find ‘a Moment of Joy in This Moment of Anxiety’” — “It started with the national anthem. Then came the piano chords, trumpet blasts, violin serenades and even the clanging of pots and pans — all of it spilling from people’s homes, out of windows and from balconies, and rippling across rooftops.

TIME: “‘Laughter Helps the Brain Relax.’ How Humor Can Combat Coronavirus Anxiety” — “Neil Diamond posts a fireside rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline’ with its familiar lyrics tweaked to say, ‘Hands … washing hands’  A news anchor asks when social distancing will end because ‘my husband keeps trying to get into the house.’ And a sign outside a neighborhood church reads: ‘Had not planned on giving up quite this much for Lent.'”

The Atlantic: “Yes, Make Coronavirus Jokes” — “My phone flashes bright. A new video’s appeared in the family WhatsApp group. Before I’ve even pressed play, I’m smiling—a roll of toilet paper is in the shot, so it must be good. Someone replies with a video of a naked man riding a bicycle. Mud’s spattered up his backside. Another toilet gag. A third video arrives of a toddler crying because the local McDonald’s has had to close as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, forcing her to eat her parent’s cooking. And on it goes.”

Quartz: “Marie Kondo’s strategy for finding joy at home during the coronavirus quarantine” — “The coronavirus hasn’t dimmed Marie Kondo’s joy. The tidying guru appeared to be adapting to the quarantine better than most of us, when she appeared on a Zoom call with Quartz last week. Her Covid-19 coping stratagem predictably involves decluttering, but not for the purpose of allaying boredom or even making a germ-free home.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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